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Why you should buy a server and Colocate

Posted on Oct 26, 2009 by Paul White

For years I setup my clients with shared hosting account with either HostMySite ( Hosting.com ) or Godaddy.  I stayed clear of colocating for several reasons, cost, and what if it breaks.  Well I finally got the confidence to colocate my own rack server, and I will say its one of the best decisions I have ever made.

The Rack Server

The server was a custom built rack server I put together with various parts off ebay.  The core of it was a SuperMicro 6014 1U rack server.  Then I upgraded the memory, and swapped out the 10K SAS drives with 4  15K SAS drives.  Installed a RocketRaid 4310 PCI-E raid card, and setup my drives in RAID 10.  If you were to get a dedicated server with this kind of hardware you would easily spend over $500 / month.  If you were to buy something like this new from Dell, HP, or IBM, you would spend over $6k.  But if you do it yourself. You can get the price under $3k.

The Rack Server Specs

  • SuperMicro 6014H-32 1U rack Server
  • 500 watt power supply
  • 8 GB (4 x 2 GB ) DDR2 400 Mhz Memory
  • 292 GB Storage ( 4 x 146 GB 15K Fujitsu SAS hard drives )
  • RocketRaid 4310 raid card ( 256 DDR2 on board memory ) drives configured in RAID 10
  • DVD-RW drive ( upgraded from CD-R drive )
  • 3.5" floppy ( came standard )
  • 2.5" Caviar Black 320 GB laptop Hard drive ( 7200 RPM ) installed in air space
  • Dual Gigabit NICs ( only using 1 with 100 Mbit port )
  • Running Windows Web Server 2008 R2
  • SmarterMail 6.1
  • SmarterStats 4.0
  • MySQL 5.1

The Network

The Server is colocated with Acronoc.  For $65 / month they have me running on a 100 Mbit port, with 200 GB of transfer. ( what I need ).  They do not over sell their bandwidth, unlike many other data centers.  The ping times are competitive and the speed I am getting from their network blows me away.  After colocating my server with them it was obvious that Godaddy was overselling their bandwidth on my previous dedicated server.  I have personally met the guys who run Acronoc.  When I walked into their datacenter I instantly found myself surrounded by my peers. This is not a company run by some CEO and board of directors that don't know how to run a server, and only care about profits or trying to sell the company to another company ( such as HostMySite / Hosting.com ).   Everyone of them is an experienced IT guy with plenty of how to knowledge.  When you call in, you get them, not someone paid by the company, but someone who is the company.


I know what you are thinking,  its not worth my time or money to buy my own server and colocate.  Well let me ask you this.  How many times have your clients called because their website on the shared hosting account was down?  How many tickets have you submitted for simple fixes to your shared / VPS  hosting accounts?  Colocated boxes are stable.  I know guys who have had a server colocated for years and it hasn't gone down once!.  The fact is your current hosting company is making all the money off your clients, while you get all the bitching when things go down.  If the site goes down, I at least want to be responsible for the hardware its on.  No point in playing middleman between the host and your clients.  Build your own server, upgrade its hard drives and ram to make it a respectable power house and colocate it, you won't regret it!

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