In Server Hosting — Rent vs. Buy? I solicited opinions on whether it made more sense to continue renting our Stack Overflow servers, or to buy them. Thanks for everyone's feedback on that!
Now the die is cast -- check out these sexy glamour shots of the two (soon to be three) new Stack Overflow servers:
Feast your eyes on that hot, sweet server hardware!
We plan to have three servers for now, but we did secure a half rack at our hosting provider for future expansion, as necessary. Here's what we'll be shipping to them initially:
The 1U web tier servers are modest:
|1||Lenovo ThinkServer RS110 barebones||$630|
|4||2 GB RAM 240-pin DDR2 800||$70|
|2||eBay [drive brackets](http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/001200.html)||$50|
|2||500 GB [datacenter hard drives](http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136143), mirrored||$160|
|1||Intel Xeon X3360 2.83 GHz quad-core CPU||$350|
Grand total of $1,260. Plus another 10 percent for tax, shipping, and so forth.
The 2U database tier server is considerably beefier:
|1||Lenovo ThinkServer RD120 barebones||$1,490|
|12||2 GB RAM 240-pin DDR2 667 FB-DIMM||$600|
|6||eBay [drive brackets](http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/001200.html)||$150|
|6||500 GB [datacenter hard drives](http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136143), RAID 10||$480|
|2||Intel Xeon E5420 2.5 GHz quad-core CPU||$700|
|1||aftermarket IBM heatsink for 2nd proc||$90|
|1||aftermarket IBM VRM for 2nd proc||$120|
Grand total of $3,630. Plus another 10 percent for tax, shipping, and so forth.
I can sell the low-end Xeons and dinky amounts of (incorrectly sized) memory that I pulled out and replaced in every server, to defray the costs a tiny bit.
So, in a nutshell, for around $6,000 we'll end up with the following:
|_Web Tier_||_Database Tier_|
|two servers||one server|
|4 cores, 2.83 Ghz, 12 MB L2 cache||8 cores, 2.5 Ghz, 24 MB L2 cache|
|8 GB RAM||24 GB RAM|
|500 GB RAID 1 mirror array (hot-fail, cold-swap)||500 GB RAID 10 array (hot-swap, up to 2 drives at once)|
|dual redundant power supplies|
(I am taking to heart the comment advice I got in my previous blog entry; we'll be shipping multiple spare hard drives down to the hosting provider, and I added that second 1U server just as a backup in case anything weird happens. We technically didn't need two web tier servers, yet.)
Sure, $6,000 sounds like a lot. But if you take a typical $800 per month hosting bill for renting dedicated servers this powerful, and then cut it in half because you're no longer paying every month for servers -- we save $4,800 per year, every single year! This one-time investment in server hardware pays for itself in a year and a half.
Compared to our current two identical dedicated servers, which aren't exactly chopped liver, this gives us:
1.5x the overall speed (faster CPUs, faster memory bus, more L2 cache)
2x the memory on web; 8x the memory on database
larger and faster storage with bigger drives and RAID 10 option
What this means to you is a faster Stack Overflow! As far as I'm concerned performance is a core feature; we can never be fast enough, and I'm constantly on the lookout for ways to make pages load faster.
Having these new servers in place (hopefully sometime in early-ish February) also enables us to expand, which I'll be blogging about in more detail tomorrow.