Over the next week or so I'm going to be discussing what's in my test lab, both the good and bad, and what I use on a daily basis vs what gets shelved. In any working lab -- especially one testing all sorts of new gear -- there's a foundation. That foundation includes racks, UPSes, KVMs, switches, servers, and basically everything that a standard datacenter would have, but all geared to be modified and changed constantly to facilitate hardware and software testing.
In essence, this means that the foundation lab gear gets much more abuse than standard datacenter gear -- for instance, the racks are constantly changing, with new gear getting racked and older hardware re-racked, switch configurations change all the time, and servers are built with multiple operating systems more times than I can count. In short, over and above the hardware and software that gets reviewed, there's some really rough real-world testing occurring constantly, and that part of things rarely gets any press. So, I'm going to start that right now, starting with servers, storage, and operating systems.
There's an old lady of the lab. Actually, there's two, but the other one is a switch that I'll get to in a later post. The elderly yet rock-solid HP ML370 sitting in the corner of the lab has proven to be a wise investment. It's a G2 model, two 2.8Ghz Intel XEON CPUs, a few gigabit NICs and 4GB of RAM. There's no RAID controller, just a mix of 18GB, 36GB, 72GB, and 147GB drives in the six U320 drive bays. It began life running Red Hat AS 2.1, and was then upgraded to RHEL3 quite some time ago. It hasn't been upgraded since due largely to lack of time and need. Among other things, it was running GSX Server for over a year, just recently upgraded to VMware Server 1.0. There are only a few VMs running on it, but they include the lab's main domain controller, and currently a VirtualCenter 2.0 server. Otherwise, this server is used to generate loads of varying types to hardware under test, from Web loads to SMB torture testing, network throughput testing, and on, and on. I'm probably jinxing it now, but in the several years it's been running, it hasn't hiccuped once, nor lost a disk. Also, it's never been backed up.
Hmmm. I'll be right back.
Okay. I feel slightly better now that it's backing up to nearline storage.