March 6, 2006 General 0

Well I bought a dell server for my business and things went great. I had a client that needed a server so I went with Dell since the sales service i recieved was stellar. Well the server hardware was fine but sbs2k3 is a horrible suite. It took loading it 5 times before i finally had a stable system. Dell’s tech support was clueless.

About the same time another client wanted a big order. A workstation, switch, ups, and a server preloaded with sbs 2k3. The server was a PE830 with a hardware RAID card. I ordered two 80 gig sata drives and a gig of ram and an 80 gig tape drive. The first server was faulty out of the box. I had a small fight iwth Dell but they sent another one. That one has a bad front usb port which i just found out was never entered into the system for repairs despite three calls to tech support on other things. During those other calls i asked for that port to be replced. It hasn’t been yet.

It gets better. The new workstation was shipped without it’s software on cd(which i specifically orderd). I got those but then the system crashed requiring a reformat/reload.

On the previous order I ordered a prcision CAD workstation. 48 hours after he got the system the hard disk died. I had to reload that ssytem AND Dell did not ship the operating sytem cd with that machine either.

I am now trying to get the server replaced yet again. I have also contacted the executive support group. I’m doing the exchange to see if i can get a working sytem while i wait..can you believe it?..for them to call me back(i was only able to leave a voicemail). This is supposed to be their urgent tech support..and i have to wait up to 2 buisness days. What a joke. If i can i intend to get this server refunded and wipe my hands of dell.

So far i have lost about 1k in fees(legally i can charge this client for the time but ethically i can’t) and the client is out nearly 10 grand. This is the last dell anything i will ever reccomend for any reason. Their quality is just too low to be reliable. HP? How would you like my little conulting firm’s business?

*UPDATE* I don’t have time to wait 2 actual week’s for dell to decide about the refund. I took a close look at the system. Dell put in a cd-rm/dvd drive. I asked for a dvd reader not a burner. Then dell install roxio cd creator 5. I am now beliving that the apc software and the roxio clashed bringing down the system. Part of this whole mess is my fault. I always formatted machines out of the box. I made the mistake of trusting dell and did not reformat this server upon opening. I have reformatted this server and reloaded from scratch and it’s running far. We’ll see what happens when i get it back to the client’s site.

I also found out for sbs 2k3 minimum 2 gigs of ram. I am having to leave out some functionality to keep the machine from exhausting all of its ram and swapping even more than winders in it’s own brain dead already does.

It seems i have gotten a Microsoft SBS MVP’s attention..not my intended purpose. Apparently she is concerned about this issues i am having. Now that I am starting to find solutions such as Communigate and Scalix things like SBS are getting pushed back. Part of it was my own inexperience with SBS..part was bad Dell support and part was SBS just needing work. In the end I am going to be exploring Scalix as communigate is a bit hard to administer(yes even more diffulcult than winders). Should be interesting to see the results since i have two sbs servers and soon a scalix server to compare against.

I got both servers running. Here are the system spces:
Server #1
client location with 11 users
p-4 2.8 ghz HT cpu
1 gig ddr2 ram
dual 160 gig 7200 rpm sata drives in RAID 1
This machine hangs around with 900 megs of swap at minimum. I have seen it as high as 1.2 gigs. This machine is only using SBS and one sage fundraising 50 database. The database consumes 50 megsbytes of ram max.

Server #2
Client location with 5 users
p-4 2.8 ghz HT
1 gig ddr2 ram
dual 80 gig 7200 rpm sata drives in RAID 1
This machine hangs around 1.2 gigs of swap at al times. I have seen it spike to 1.41 gigs.
The extra things running on this box are symantec sbs backup, apc powerchute and dell raid manager.

These extras add up to a total of about 100 megs of usage total between the three.

I posted this on the site i was getting help from as my second to final post..:(
thread is here.
maybe in your country those rates work….but not here in my town where i live. If i lived in a more affluent area of hte US maybe..but i don’t..:)

My business is almost profitable as it rates were not set blindly.

There is a huge difference between grabbing all ram and swapping everything out to get that ram. In linux the kernel won’t normally swap until all ram is actually exhausted. Winders for some reason wants to swap at the drop of a hat. IF linux decides to can literally force it to not swap at all with no illl effects if you truly have the physical ram to do so. The fact these machines are swapping so much is mind-boggling. If the code were truly efficient it would not have to swap a gig or more so exchange/iis/sql could have their ram caches. Windows is not grabbing all available is moving stuff out of physical ram into swap to try to improve performace. The instant you need something in swap now the stores have to be dumped(chug chug chug) and then the other data brought back in(chug chug chug). This is why 2 gigs of ram is neccessary. Swapping like mad may be normal for windows but for performace it is the worst thing you can so. This is the fundamental reason windows boxes need at least twice the physical ram of a Linux mahcine for hte same taskings…MS jsut doesn’t get memory mangement at all. Swap is not hte first resort it is the last resort.

I apologize to everyone for taking this so far off-topic..i am heading out now..I did not intend to insult anyone. Take care everyone and God Bless!

*UPDATE Three*
it continues. The thread on those linked forums grows..:)