Traven Purchase Discussions

UPDATE: The server has been ordered smile and it will be called and it's now being documented on the TravenInfo wiki page.

There is a proposal to colo a box with SCCP, UkHostingComparisons#Calyx in NL had been the first choice but this plan has been very slow in progressing and getting a (cheapish, compared with the other UkHardwareComparisons ideas) box and colocating it with the Seattle Community Colocation Project does have the advantage that there are not the same legal issues to resolve first (see UkHostingComparisons, UkServerProcess and UkLegalConstitution for more on this).

It has also been proposed that only \xA31,500 be spent on this server and that the plan to colo a number of machines with Calyx should also be continued, see UkHardwareComparisons for more on the Calyx plan with respect to the hardware.

IMC Euskal Herria will discuss this proposal on 9th Feb.


Power consumption is more of an issue than rackspace (though it makes no sense to get anything bigger than a 1U box) so this rules out a dual p4 and also a dual opteron, see the irc conversation about this and the, power usage based, SCCP suggested donation rates.

Following a lot of irc discussions [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 ] the proposal is to go with a Supermicro from Hard Drives Northwest because this is the box recomended by the #riseup people, it has a remote managament card and the firm supplying it are local to Seattle and have been used before.

Penguin Computing

$2,677.30 (\xA31,431.90 GBP) would get this Relion 1XT Server:

Standard Features:
  • 1U (1.75") Rackmount Chassis
  • Single Intel\xAE Pentium\xAE 4
  • 800MHz Front Side Bus
  • Up to 4GB of PC3200 DDR RAM
  • Integrated Dual Chan. ATA-100 IDE Controller
  • Integrated Promise PDC20319 SATA Controller
  • Two 3.5" Fixed Bays
  • 52X CD-ROM
  • Dual Integrated Gigabit NICs
  • Two Available 64 bit PCI-X Slots
  • Integrated ATI Rage XL Video
  • One 300W Power Supply
  • Linux Preload
  • Relion 1XT Documentation
  • Penguin Computing Three Year Warranty

Selected Features:
  • 3.0GHz Intel Pentium 4 with 1M cache and 800MHz FSB
  • 4GB Low Profile PC3200 Unbuffered ECC DDR (4 x 1GB)
  • 200GB, EIDE, 7200RPM (8MB cache)
  • 200GB, EIDE, 7200RPM (8MB cache)
  • Preload, Version 9.0 Installation with Documentation
  • Standard 3-Year Warranty

The Relion 1XT Server Technical Specifications includes these details:
Processor Type
Intel Pentium 4 FC-PGA2 (478 pin)
Intel\xAE E7210 (Canterwood ES) Chipset
Ethernet Controller
Onboard Intel\xAE 82547GI CSA Gigabit Ethernet
On-Board LAN
Dual 10/100/1000 RJ-45 Interfaces
Number of PCI Slots
Two PCI-X/PCI (3.3V) Slot
PCI Slot Speed
64-bit 133MHz PCI-X/PCI

Supermicro Superserver 1U 5014C-T


People in #riseup suggested a Supermicro box, see the irc logs of the discussion. Specifically a box with a AOC-IPMI20-E remote power card and the 1U SuperServer 5014C-T was suggested, this has a P8SCi motherboard that has support for IPMI 2.0.

This box has Broadcom ethernet cards which Jeff considers to potentially a problem compared to the Intel cards that the Penguin Computers box suggested above.

Supermicro IPMI Card - (AOC-IPMI20-E)

Also the Intel SATA drive could be a problem. If we go with SATA then the instructions in this email might help...

The riseup people are very keen on this server because of the Supermicro IPMI Card which allows the box to be rebooted remotly.

1U SuperServer 5014C-T tech spec:

  • Intel\xAE Pentium\xAE 4 LGA775 Package 800MHz FSB, Celeron\xAE 533MHz FSB
  • Up to 4GB DDRII 400 / 533MHz SDRAM
  • 1 x 64-bit 133MHz Full-height / length PCI-X Slot
  • 2 x Broadcom BCM5721 Gigabit LAN Controllers
  • 2 x 1" SATA Hot-swap drive bays
  • Serial ATA Intel\xAE ICH6R SATA controller RAID 0, 1, JBOD support
  • Support for Intelligent Platform Management Interface v.2.0 (Optional) Card not included.
  • 260W Power Supply

Options we would need to add:

  • IPMI Card
  • CPU - P4 2.8Ghz
  • RAM - 4 x 1Gb
  • HD SATA - 2 x 200Gb (approx)

Deskstar 7K400

The following two quotes include two Hitachi 400GB SATA hard disks which can be set up using RAID 1 (mirroring), there is a positive review of this hard disk on, see also the Deskstar 7K400 page on


Acmemicro stock this box Supermicro Superserver 5014C-T 1U P4 LGA775 SATA server.

1 x Supermicro Superserver 5014C-T 1U P4 LGA775 SATA server
2 x Hitachi 400GB SATA 150 7200RPM 8MB
4 x Micron DDR2 PC2-4200 1GB 128x64 DDR2-533 240 pin DIMM
1 x Intel Pentium 4 530 800Mhz FSB 3.0Ghz 1MB LGA775, Retail
1 x IPMI 2.0 management card - Supermicro
Labor assemble and test a system Class A
$2656.00 (\xA31,420.51)

Hard Drives Northwest

Hard Drives Northwest were suggested as a place to buy the server from since they are local to Seattle. Their quote for the above acemicro system is $1789.76 (approx 957 quid):

But on looking at this quote - it only has 4 x 512 MB RAM and a different hard drive. A request for the same setup as above gave this quote - but he still didn't answer the question about the hard disks -- he is actually quoting for cheaper ones:

Except this looks like he mailed the same quote back to us again!! We're asking again....

Also we have asked for the hard drives to be changed to 2 x Hitachi 400GB ones, though these only have a 3 year warranty where as the Seagate 7200.8 400GB have a 5 year warranty.

Thus, third quote is now for 4 x 1 Gb RAM and 2 x Hitachi 400GB SATA 7200RPM 8MB drives, and is $2986.56 USD (approx 1,597.30 GBP according to

And after a discussion on the phone they have sent a 4th quote and said that the decision can be left untill Monday and there would still be time to build the machine.

1 x INTEL P4 3.0E 1MB CACHE 800MHZ
4 x KINGSTON KVR4002N3/1G DDR 2 1
1 x on Card AOC-IPMI20-E
$2,888.64 ($2,655.00 + $233.64 Sales tax) (\xA31,544.93 GBP)


The machine might well come with Fedora Core 9 installed and this is easy to set up for Mir using Jpackage RPMS, however with the short life cycle of FC and the fact that the techies on the ground use debian it makes more sense to install debian.


Since we probably won't initally have remote serial consol access it's probably not a good idea to encrypt all the hard disk space, being able to boot it remotley and then mount encrypted partitions and start up services makes more sense so we should probably follow the encrypted partitions using dm-crypt instructions.

One of the first things that will need sorting out is RAID, should hardware raid be used? Should sofware RAID it be used? Would it be beter using neither?

There was an irc chat about this stuff.

Colocation Request

We need to answer some questions:

What is your name and phone number?
Stefani, in Seattle, (if she's ok with this still!).

What is your desired move in date?
around 23 February 2005 - (gdm) will be in Seattle and able to help if required. Otherwise, whenever is convenient for Stefani. Was have said around the 23rd because the machine will need debian stable installing on it (partitioning to be sorted out on imc-uk-tech and /or #tech). Also the hardware will need to be delivered soemwhere etc... details to be sorted!

What is the power consumption of your machine?
We are currently looking at a a box with a single Intel\xAE Pentium\xAE 4 and one 300W Power Supply.

What is your estimated bandwidth usage?
This machine is intended as a Mir production server and not a primary mirror for any Indymedia sites, perhaps the bandwidth usage might hit 30Gb pcm (the UK mirrors can be around 60Gb pcm)

What is the machine's brand and model?
At the moment we are looking at a Penguin Computing Relion 1XT:

What is the height (in 'U') of your machine?

Are you local to the Seattle area?
No. The webservices provided would be part of the global Indymedia network (see services description, below). There would be local technical support for emergencies, but primarily all administration would be done remotely.

Please describe the services hosted by your machine or machines.
This machine would host the 'publishing' server for Indymedia UK (using Mir, thus pushing static content out to other mirrors around the world), as well as several other Mir Indymedia sites, including and and no doubt more once it's up and running -- these three IMCs are funding the hardware. We would need one IP address per site because all sites will have https interfaces, perhaps a subnet could be allocated to the box?

What monthly donation are you able to pledge?
Currently, UK Indymedia receives monthly pledges of 38.0 GBP sterling - a little over $70 at current rates for the running costs of server, if Paypal is suitable mathod of payment a monthly or perhaps 3 monthly (if this reduces transfer costs) regular payment can be set up, and we could pay the first 3 months in advance.

Topic attachments
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
hdnwquote4.pdfpdf hdnwquote4.pdf manage 15 K 12 Feb 2005 - 01:07 GarconDuMonde 4th quote from
riseup.txttxt riseup.txt manage 2 K 06 Feb 2005 - 10:15 UnknownUser IRC log talking about power supply issues at riseup
riseup2.txttxt riseup2.txt manage 6 K 07 Feb 2005 - 01:12 UnknownUser Discussion about a Supermicro server
riseup3.txttxt riseup3.txt manage 13 K 10 Feb 2005 - 23:50 UnknownUser Further discussions about the hardware
riseup4.txttxt riseup4.txt manage 38 K 12 Feb 2005 - 01:43 UnknownUser Irc discussion no4
riseup5.txttxt riseup5.txt manage 5 K 13 Feb 2005 - 23:16 UnknownUser Chat about RAID
Topic revision: r14 - 25 Dec 2005, WietsE
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