As I mentioned previously, I’m looking to get a bunch of Dell blade servers, but their pricing system (seemingly random pricing changes every day) is really irritating me. So I think I may have come up with a solution… Just buy stripped down blades and add the RAM, hard drives (and maybe even 2nd CPU) yourself.
As of right now, a single loaded blade configured as I would want it is $9,062 (that’s 2 dual core CPUs, 12GB RAM, 2 146GB 1k rpm drives, 3 gigabit ethernet ports, SuSE Linux Enterprise 9, etc.)
But if I strip the CPU, RAM and hard drives down to a minimum (1 dual core CPU, 1GB RAM, 1 36GB 15k rpm drive), the cost is $3,025.
Dell doesn’t offer 4GB DIMM modules, but they do say the blades support them. It’s actually cheaper to use 4GB DIMMs instead of 2GB DIMMs because you can use double ranked for the 4GB vs. single rank for the 2GB. This also means by using 4GB DIMMs you can max out at 16GB of memory instead of 12GB. 4GB DDR2 DIMMs are $581 each.
146GB 15k rpm U320 SCSI drives are $275 each (would need to find out if Dell sells blank drive carriers since they are hot swappable.. if not, I found them on eBay for $8.95).
A 2nd processor is $935 (the user’s guide for the blades actually have instructions for replacing a CPU, so maybe you can add one yourself too).
So if we add it all together we could have an identically configured blade (except we would have 4GB MORE RAM) for $6,834 instead of Dell’s $9,062 price. Also, would probably just end up adding 8GB RAM for now (9GB total) which would bring the per blade cost down to $5,672.
Now if they would just use AMD Opteron processors instead of Intel Xeon…….. 🙂