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Old 2016-06-11, 13:01   #1
bgbeuning
 
Dec 2014

22·32·7 Posts
Default Open Compute Servers on ebay

Apparently a group of users got together and started making their own servers.
The project is called Open Compute. Some of the servers are showing up on
ebay at very nice prices. Like $200 for a case and 2 motherboards (with no CPU, or RAM).

The people at the home server web site have been buying them and they have a 20 page
forum thread about issues people have faced and some solutions. (One guy there bought full racks of them.)

Serve the Home

After reading the thread, here are some issues they faced using these
1. Power is 220 VAC (with 48 VDC backup) and the power cords come with
various odd connectors. Some people use a 220 VAC circuit in their home
and many buy a 110 to 220 transformer.
2. They come with no graphics port but many old graphics cards seem to work.
New GPU cards that need extra power do not work because it has no ATX-6
cable to power them.
3. Some brands (Quanta) have BIOS update available and some do not (Wywinn).
4. Most hold up to 512 GB RAM (but again, usually come with none).
5. Xeon E5-2660 CPU are going for $50 on ebay.
6. They are not a standard width so do not fit in a 19" rack.
7. The cases do not include a top sheet of metal. More cost savings.
They use racks with slots in the rack so they do not need rails.
8. Different listings do not include important parts like plastic shroud to direct air flow,
or PCI-e riser card so shop carefully.
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Old 2016-06-11, 17:01   #2
Madpoo
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Jul 2014

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgbeuning View Post
After reading the thread, here are some issues they faced using these
1. Power is 220 VAC (with 48 VDC backup) and the power cords come with
various odd connectors. Some people use a 220 VAC circuit in their home
and many buy a 110 to 220 transformer.
Unless I'm missing something from the picture, I find it offensive they didn't use standard IEC C14 sockets. I mean, you have to go out of your way to do that for a rack server. Only thing I can think of is they were trying to be too clever by half and give you a built in option to also use 48VDC out of the box but even that doesn't make too much sense.

Also, it's not a standard rackmount width. What the... ?

It's like designing a new car that doesn't run on gas or diesel, the accelerator and brake pedals are reversed, etc.

I mean, what's the point? Because it's so cheap they couldn't make it standard widths and use standard power sockets like everyone else? LOL

EDIT: I do see in that thread in later comments they may have a standard rack width model available with a smaller power supply or something. Still, it all seems kind of chintzy, like trying to make a nice suit out of factory seconds.

Last fiddled with by Madpoo on 2016-06-11 at 17:06
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Old 2016-06-11, 17:46   #3
bgbeuning
 
Dec 2014

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They are a creative bunch over at home server.
If you read all 20 pages of posts

One guy adopted an ATX power supply (for 110 VAC input).
Another guy adopted a popular server PSU (that is cheap on ebay) to them.
One person even did sheet metal surgery to get it in a 19" rack.

The project publishes specs for the machines

Open Compute Project Intel Motherboard v2.0

The only rational they give is saving power.

There are some big companies involved in the project (Facebook, Google, Intel)
but I don't know if that means they all use the servers. I have read Facebook does.

open compute membership

I guess if you are building enough data centers, you can define your own standards.

You probably know a big user of 48 VDC is the telephone company.
(So you still get dial tone and 911 service when the power is out.)
I was walking at work one day and saw a room of big glass jars.
(Like 12" diameter and 24" tall.)
Turns out they were batteries and the jars were full of sulfuric acid.
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Old 2016-06-11, 18:33   #4
Mark Rose
 
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Jan 2013

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I watched a talk by a Facebook engineer talking about how Open Compute became a thing. It really is all about energy efficiency.

The non-standard dimensions were a trade-off between compute density and fan power consumption, IIRC.
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