Yesterday I got to drive down to Monett to pick up some server hardware that was donated to the church. None of it is brand-spanking new, but it's going to make for a pretty nice setup. We were given a 42U rack cabinet, and four IBM x346 servers. The servers don't have any drives or a RAID card (just the onboard SCSI), but they're all dual processor (one with dual cores), have 16gb of RAM, and are nicely equipped with fibre channel cards.
We need to come up with some sort of a storage solution for all of these servers. We also need to determine exactly what we'll be doing with them. I know that two are going to be used to handle our internet hosting needs, one may be used purely as a development system, and I have no idea what we'll do with the fourth system. What I do know is that this hardware really needs to be virtualized to meet the full potential. We'll be starting down the path of learning the ins and outs of EXSi soon.
My first goal is to buy a drive caddy and a cheap ultra320 drive and see if the those will work off the onboard controller. Part of the plan is to see if EXSi really needs a drive in the system (usb key boot).
We'll probably be building some sort of large NAS or SAN to hold the data from these systems and nearline video.
If anybody's got tips for how to configure or use this hardware leave comments.