Friday, August 10, 2012

Improved Server Performance & Reliability

Aberdeen’s New Stirling 277 Is VMware-Ready To Interoperate Seamlessly With Virtual Infrastructures

Reputations aren’t just handed out. They’re earned over time by gaining the trust of customers and partners through consistent results, leading performance, and long-lasting reliability.
Aberdeen has earned its well-deserved reputation within the industry as a manufacturer of affordable, durable, highly scalable, award-winning general purpose and storage servers by developing such trust. For 20-plus years, Santa Fe Springs, Calif.,-based Aberdeen has been building servers tailor-made to customers’ exact requirements and specifications in order to meet their present and future needs. Over that time, Aberdeen has also met and surpassed the criteria set down by its partners, including VMware. 

Solidified Reputation

The new Aberdeen Stirling 277, a 2U VMware-Ready server powered by the Intel® Xeon® Processor E5-2600 series CPUs and built on the Intel Romley platform, is but one of countless examples of how Aberdeen has solidified its reputation.
The Stirling 277’s VMware-Ready designation means the server can interoperate seamlessly with a virtual infrastructure and that it has met VMware integration and interoperability standards, says Mike McArthur, an engineer at Aberdeen. “Each VMware-Ready product and solution category requires successful completion of specific integration and interoperability testing,” he says. Beyond being VMware-Ready, the Stirling 277 is also certified for vSphere Fault Tolerance, meaning the potential of data loss due to disruption is eliminated.

“Customers can rely on VMware-Ready products and solutions to be reliably interoperable with a vSphere environment and to deliver unique features with significant value,” McArthur says. Further, he says, the designation signifies “VMware’s highest level of endorsement for products and solutions created by established partners.”
Overall, the Stirling 277’s hardware components make it well-suited for businesses running 10 to 20 virtual machines on a single ESXi server, McArthur says. The power and efficiency performance that the Intel® Xeon® Processor E5-2600 series CPUs provide means the Stirling 277 is also well-suited for cloud computing tasks, he says. Aberdeen offers the Intel® Xeon® Processor E5-2600 series in a dual-socket configuration. Built on Intel’s 32nm manufacturing technology, the Intel® Xeon® Processor E5-2600 helps companies meet the demands of developing efficient, secure, and high-performing data center infrastructure.

Better Hardware, Better Abilities

Among the Stirling 277’s standout features, says Niso Levitas, manager of research and development at Aberdeen, is support to configure more memory (up to 512GB), something that’s “important for virtualization,” he says. “Usually the bottleneck on VMware servers is the memory, not CPU,” he says. “You can add many more virtual machines with increased memory capacity.”
Aberdeen makes acquiring a virtualization platform “simple and affordable,” as well as free of “fancy terminology,” Levitas says, by offering two VMware virtualization starter kits. Both kits include two certified Stirling 277 servers providing shared storage and licensing abilities and hardware redundancy and VMware’s High Availability features. An Essentials Plus kit includes four CPUs and 128GB RAM and support for up to six CPUs and 192GB RAM. A Standard Acceleration kit includes four CPUs and 128GB RAM and support for up to eight CPUs and 256GB RAM.
Other notable features of the Stirling277 include dual onboard RJ45 10GbE ports and support for PCI-E 3.0. The 10GbE ports are backward-compatible with 1GbE networks and infrastructure, enabling customers to “utilize their existing network and switches and benefit from 10GbE when they are ready,” Levitas says. Seven available PCI-E 3.0 slots are built in, providing ample slots to add fiber storage ports, 10GbE, or iSCSI ports, Levitas says. The Stirling 277 can also utilize SAN storage, Levitas says, but supports up to 32TB storage in the server itself “for smaller setups or to utilize Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA) features introduced with VMware Vsphere 5.0.”

Guaranteed Quality

As with every barebones and customized general-purpose and storage server Aberdeen sells in form factors covering 1U to 8U, the Stirling 277 ships with Aberdeen’s industry-leading five-year warranty that guarantees it to be free of material defects during the warranty’s duration and free of workmanship defects during the server’s lifetime.
Before shipping, every Stirling 277 server is put through a comprehensive burn-in process, as well as a thorough Quality Control/Quality Assurance routine. Before and after shipping, Aberdeen has VMware-certified sales and technical staff available to help customers best apply virtualization in their environment to cut their costs and simplify their operations.

Friday, July 27, 2012

More Storage, Same Amount Of Space

More Storage, Same Amount Of Space

Aberdeen Stirling & AberNAS Solutions Now Support 4TB Hard Drives

Since 1991, Aberdeen has been designing and manufacturing scalable high-capacity storage solutions for companies in a wide variety of industries. Through the years, the company has always strived to maximize the efficiency of its products in order to provide the most storage possible to its customers. And even while Aberdeen releases new products, it continues to make improvements to its currently available solutions. The company made just such a change with its already popular Stirling and AberNAS product lines by increasing the potential storage capacity by 33%.

Support For 4TB Hard Drives

Aberdeen’s Stirling and AberNAS solutions have always been able to provide large amounts of storage, whether it was up to 198TB in a single server or as much as 1PB (petabyte) in an array. However, the company has now included support for Hitachi’s Nearline 24/7 4TB SATA hard disk drives, which improves on efficiency and provides even more raw storage capacity than ever before. In fact, you can now get as much as 16TB of storage in a 1U model or up to 264TB in an 8U rackmount configuration.

This increase in capacity per hard drive makes it possible to pack more available storage into each system without the need to invest in additional servers. In addition to cutting down on equipment expenditures, the added capacity can also help free up some much needed space in your data center or even aid in the consolidation process. As with all Aberdeen products, these configurations are highly customizable, so you can get the exact amount of storage you need at exactly the right size.

Stirling Scalable Storage Servers

In addition to the newly added support for 4TB hard drives, Aberdeen’s Stirling Scalable Nearline Storage Servers are also packed with many other helpful features for data centers. Each Stirling server utilizes Intel’s 5520 Chipset, Intel® Xeon® Processor 5600 series, and Intel microarchitecture with Turbo Boost Technology. Aberdeen’s Stirling servers also feature up to 192GB of DDR3 memory, a maximum bandwidth of 32GBps, and much more. All Stirling servers are available in RAID 6, 0, 1, 5, and 10 configurations with more than 1200MBps transfers. By combining all of these technologies into one solution, you can expect superfast processing speeds and reliable performance.

Aberdeen also has four specific Stirling configurations with Intel® Xeon® Processor 5600 onboard. The first is the 3U X339, which supports up to 16 hard drives and up to 64TB of capacity. The 5U X539 supports up to 24 hard drives and as much as 96TB of storage. The two 8U models, the X889 and the X899, have space for 48 and 64 hard drives and up to 192TB and 256TB of storage, respectively. Because these systems are highly customizable and can be easily combined to create an array, Aberdeen also added the option of expandable SAS2 storage up to 1PB and beyond.

AberNAS Solutions

For those in need of scalable, high-capacity NAS solutions, Aberdeen offers its AberNAS line of products designed to work with the specific operating system you choose. For instance, the AberNAS LX-Series works with 64-bit Linux environments and the AberNAS X8-Series is designed for the Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2008 OS. Aberdeen also has a 32-bit Windows Storage Server 2003 R2 entry-level AberNAS model and other Linux-based solutions.

For companies using Linux-based operating systems in need of massive virtualized storage arrays, the AberNAS LX-Series has many great features. It now supports up to 8EB (exabytes) of storage and, with this immense level of available storage, Aberdeen has also included an easier to use GUI for 64-bit Linux environments so it’s much easier to manage your hard drive arrays.

Aberdeen’s AberNAS solutions are flexible in that you can have as much as 264TB of storage in a server to as little as 2TB in a 1U configuration. They feature support for RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, and JBOD and SATA 3Gbps or 6Gbps disk drives. In addition, these storage solutions are protected with snapshot data recovery, hardware redundancy, and redundant hot-swappable power supplies.

Customizable & Scalable Solutions
As always, Aberdeen’s tech experts are available to help you configure the Stirling and AberNAS storage solutions to your exact specifications. The products are designed for companies of all sizes, from a small business to the largest enterprise. Plus, the Stirling and AberNAS solutions can grow alongside your company, leaving enough space for you to quickly and easily scale your maximum storage capacity. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Scalable & Expandable Storage

Aberdeen AberSAN ZXP & AberNAS N10L Series Are Ideal For Traditional & Virtualized Environments

Aberdeen has been providing high-capacity, high-speed storage solutions for data centers for many years. And from the beginning, the company has put a strong focus on the customer experience with each one of its products. “All Aberdeen systems are fully customizable,” says Larry Aguilar, marketing manager at Aberdeen. “Aberdeen does not carry prebuilt systems. Each system is tailor-made based on each customer’s requirements and specifications.”

Aberdeen’s AberSAN ZXP Expandable ZFS SAN Storage Subsystem and AberNAS N10L Series are no different. They provide flexible and scalable storage that is designed to grow alongside a company and provide the high level of performance needed for many years to come.

Virtually Unlimited Storage

Perhaps the biggest selling point of Aberdeen’s AberSANZXP systems is that they have virtually unlimited storage. The AberSAN ZXP is built as a 128-bit system and uses a ZFS file system. This combination lets you produce unlimited snapshots for quick data restoration as well as unlimited file sizes. For management, Aberdeen includes a Web-based GUI to help manage and configure the hard drive array(s).
Aberdeen uses its ZFS-based file system to protect data and support virtualization, if necessary. Because the AberSAN ZXP provides unlimited storage, it’s capable of storing a large number of backups and system instances in case you need to restore your system due to a large-scale disaster. Aberdeen products use the ZFS file system to avoid silent data corruption, so you can be sure that every save is stored correctly and will be available when you need it. You can leverage the ZFS file system to use thin provisioning and I/O pooling. Plus, Aberdeen’s solutions are designed to work specifically with VMware environments as well as other virtualization offerings.
The AberSAN ZXP is perfect for cloud environments. Not only does it provide a large amount of storage, it is also easily expandable from a smaller starting size up to a large-scale cloud infrastructure machine. You can choose from a 19-inch rackmount solution with a 2U Head Unit, 3U JBODExpansion, or 4U JBOD Expansion, which provide depths of 17.7, 25.5, or 27.5 inches, respectively. Each system comes with different power supplies and storage options and up to 192GB of DDR3 memory. The AberSAN ZXP can handle any storage-related needs you currently have while leaving enough room for the needs you haven’t even thought of.
Designed For Businesses Of All Sizes
Aberdeen’s solutions are designed to work for all companies, from the smallest businesses to the largest enterprises. That’s why the AberNAS N10L Series of products are Linux-based servers that are available in 2.4TB, 4TB, 8TB, and 12TB capacities and can be built to provide RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, and 60 environments depending on the level of storage you need. The AberNAS N10L Series also features an expandable SAS port, so you can connect Aberdeen XDAS (direct attached storage) units for additional storage space when you need it. And because these solutions use an open storage platform, they can be easily configured and reconfigured to meet any data center’s specific needs.
The AberNAS N10L Series is also ready for virtualization and the cloud, because each 32-bit model is VMware certified, and 64-bit certification is pending. You can start off with any of the base models for simpler virtualized environments and then expand your storage as you expand your cloud-based projects.
In addition to the storage space, 6GB to 24GB of DDR3 memory, and VMware certification, Aberdeen’s AberNAS N10L Series is built to work with some of Intel’s newest technologies, including Intel’s QuickPath Technology and a built-in memory controller, to provide the highest level of performance and speed.
Aberdeen AberSAN ZXP & AberNAS N10L Series Aberdeen’s scalable storage solutions feature the Intel® Xeon® Processor and take advantage of ZFS-based file management for virtually unlimited storage and ensure that these products will grow alongside your company to provide the highest level of performance.
A Boost In Performance!

Aberdeen x70 Series Stirling Servers Feature Dual Intel® Xeon® E5-2600 Processors To Improve Data Center Applications

A performance boost, no matter how small, is always a good thing. A performance boost reaching up to 80%, however, is a major step up. Aberdeen’s dual-socket x70Series Stirling Servers open the door to such a performance gain by including the new Intel® Xeon® Processsor E5-2600 series, which is built on the Sandy Bridge-EP core design and part of the Romley platform when paired with the new Intel C602 (Patsburg) chipset.
Based on Intel’s 32nm manufacturing technology, the Xeon E5-2600 processors offer more cores, cache, and memory capacity, as well as bigger, faster communication pathways, Intel says. The Xeon E5-2600 processors can help companies meet the demand for efficient, secure, and high-performing data center infrastructure by offering unparalleled, balanced performance across compute, storage, and network environments, Intel says.

A Boost For Data Centers
Aberdeen offers the Xeon E5-2600 processors in dual-socket (Dual LGA2011 Socket R) configurations in eight base models within the x70 Series Stirling Server family in 1U Mainstream, 1U Advanced, 2U Mainstream, 2U Advanced, and 4U Mainstream options. The base 4U Mainstream configuration, for example, provides an AberdeenStirling 470 server with dual 2GHz Xeon E5-2650 processors, 16GB of DDR3-1600MHz memory (up to 256GB), two 2TB Hitachi Ultrastar 7200rpm drives (up to eight drives supported), an LSI 9261 SAS2 controller, and a SuperServer 7047R-TRF server kit. The 171-178 and 179 have redundant 80 Gold level power efficiency certified power supplies in a 1U, while the 278 can have up to 24 2.5-inch drives. All x70 Series Stirling models can be customized with add-on cards, backplanes, storage, and other features.

The Xeon E5-2600 series has 17 parts supporting up to eight cores per processor and up to 768GB of system memory (quad-channel DDR3 up to 1600MHz). The Xeon E5-2600 processors provide up to an 80% increase in performance compared to previous Xeon 5600-series processors. They also include new Intel Integrated I/O technology with PCI Express 3.0 support built in. Intel says the addition can triple the rate of data flows coming in and out of the processor, reducing latency by up to 30%. Support for Intel DDIO (Data Direct I/O) technology enables Intel Ethernet controllers and adapters to route I/O traffic straight to processor cache.
The processors include support for Intel AVX (Advanced Vector Extension), technology. Also noteworthy is the Xeon E5-2600’s ability to improve energy efficiency by more than 50% vs. the Xeon 5600 series processors, a boon to data centers seeking to gain added performance while reducing power consumption and operating costs. Intel says the new age of “intelligent performance” that the Xeon E5-2600 processors are introducing will result in best-in-class support for virtualization, consolidation, and cloud computing.
Guaranteed Excellence
Beyond the x70 Series Stirling Server models, Aberdeen has been producing general-purpose and storage servers since 1991, placing a strong emphasis on providing customers customization options and high performance offered at competitive prices. In addition to customized servers ranging from 1U to 8U form factors, the company also sells barebones server configurations.
Aberdeen covers every fully configured rackmount server with a five-year-warranty that guarantees the server to be free of material defects for five years. Aberdeen also warranties each server to be free of workmanship defects for the server’s lifetime. Other customer-tailored programs include an Internet-based leasing program and a CARES (Custom Assembled Rackmount Evaluation Service) program, which provides qualified customers with a server that’s configured to their needs that they can use for a free 30-day assessment period with no obligations. 

Aberdeen x70 Series Stirling Servers
The x70 Series Stirling Servers feature the use of processors from Intel’s new Xeon E5-2600 series, which include numerous features geared specifically toward boosting performance in data center applications.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

One Solution For Almost Any Storage-Related Problem

Aberdeen AberSAN Z-Series & Its Web-Based GUI
Offer Simplified Hard Drive Management

In most cases, it’s safe to say that the more parts something has, the more complicated it is. This sentiment fits the world of mass storage solutions perfectly. It’s relatively easy to locate and manage one hard drive in a single desktop computer or even as many as eight hard drives in a larger storage platform, but the difficulty increases to new highs when dozens or hundreds of drives are involved. While current ZFS-based offerings allow you to alphabetize hard drives according to unique identifiers, there is no simple or intuitive way to know exactly where that drive is in the array.
“Adding, removing, or replacing a hard drive typically rearranges the list,” says Yuval Bymel, R&D engineer at Aberdeen. “These hard drive changes make it impossible to have a label on the system showing the correct order of the drives at any given time. Under ideal conditions, this may be an adequate solution. But when a drive fails, or if it completely disappears from that list, there is no easy way to identify the slot in which that drive resides.”
To help data center and IT managers overcome this hard drive hassle, Aberdeen built its Z-Series line of scalable storage products with its proprietary Web-based GUI that makes it easy to not only identify the hard drive, but also pinpoint its exact location in the array. This GUI goes above and beyond the traditional ZFS system to make hard drive swaps or fixes quicker and easier.
Scalable Storage Products
Aberdeen’s Z-Series is a line of scalable storage products designed to be customized to your needs. Whether you need to store a few terabytes of data or as much as a petabyte or more, the Z-Series platform can handle it. Aberdeen also made sure these solutions would be ready for future use and offers 10Gb Ethernet or 8Gb Fibre connectivity to the storage solutions as an optional add-on.
The GUI built into Aber-deen’s Z-Series line of solutions creates an accurate graphical representation of your entire array, letting you see the physical location of a server’s hard drives without manually searching through the array. When you click an individual drive, the GUI shows you its location on the server itself as well as its physical location within the array. And the GUI will also take any changes you’ve made into account. “You can rest assured the GUI matches the server’s hard drive slot label and retains that order no matter which drives you use, how many you have, or even if you have to replace a failed drive,” Bymel says.
The Z-Series GUI also lets you select which drive you want to replace while keeping all of your hard drives in the correct order. You can even rearrange the order at any given time or move your drives to another enclosure. Regardless of how you choose to arrange or manage your drives, the Z-Series GUI will keep up with you and provide the same identification and location information based on the new configuration.
Easier To Use
Aberdeen’s addition of the Web-based GUI serves to make the Z-Series even easier to use in the data center. The platform is scalable enough to support a wide range of storage needs and can scale to as much as a petabyte of storage or more because the GUI makes it easier to locate, swap out, or move hard drives.  Regardless of how large or small your storage needs, Aberdeen can help with a solution that will relieve your hard drive headaches. 
"Aberdeen’s Z-Series line of scalable storage solutions are built with a ZFS-based file management system as well as a helpful, Web-based GUI that makes it easy to identify and locate specific hard drives in an array."

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Means To Expand ~ Aberdeen Helps Enable Growth At G & G Squared Enterprises

One of the mission statements that Aberdeen displays prominently on its Web site ( is “Perfecting the science of scalability. Because one size does not fit all.” Put another way, Aberdeen has the experience, personnel, and ability to assist any company with its individual server and storage needs regardless of its size.

It’s this capability that G & G Squared Enterprises ( discovered when it set out to replace its existing bank of aging servers and open the company to the new market of virtual data centers, says G & G CEO George Dickinson II.
Going Virtual
Originally operating as a private Web hosting provider for individuals and select companies, G & G took its offerings public in 2005. Today, Dickinson describes G & G as providing customers a “place where small businesses are encouraged to develop their Web potential through the use of Web hosting technology” and establish a Web experience to increase their Web awareness and audiences.

Dickinson says the company’s customer base ranges “from the little mom-and-pop shops to medium-sized business.”
In early 2011, the company found itself in need of upgrading its servers. Before ultimately selecting products from Aberdeen to fill its needs, G & G conducted research that involved comparing servers and storage servers from several other well-known competitors. “When comparing all systems configured the same, Aberdeen was the lowest price,” Dickinson says. After speaking with Aberdeen and downloading all the spec sheets, the company purchased its equipment from Aberdeen in April 2011.

G & G purchased an AberNAS 167LX NAS from Aberdeen’s AberNAS 160LX Series, which includes models based on Intel’s quad-core Nehalem Xeon E5506 platform. The models also include 3GB of ECC DDR3 memory, four RAID-optimized (0, 1, 5, 6) and hot-swappable SATA 3Gbps drives, and a SAS expansion port that enables connecting to various Aberdeen XDAS storage models.

Suitable for small businesses on up to high-end IT environments, the 1U VMware-certified, Linux-based (64-bit, enterprise-class), and iSCSI/IP SAN ready AberNAS 160LX Series models range from 2TB to 12TB storage included.
G & G also purchased an Aberdeen Stirling 56T Mini 1U Rack, a SuperServer 6015V-MRB Mini-1U Rack Dual Xeon server based on Intel Nehalem processors and offering up to 16GB of ECC FBDIMM DDR2 memory.  Dickinson says the process from unboxing to implementing the new equipment only took about an hour and a half. And the products have “exceeded the planned project,” he says, something that has enabled G & G to open itself up for new projects in coming years.
A Warranty That Entices
Beyond Aberdeen’s experience, Dickinson says, he was also enticed by the standard five-year warranty Aberdeen offers, the off-the-shelf replacement parts provided, and its designation as a VMware-certified partner—all of which are offered at a “fraction of the cost of competitors,” Dickinson says. “After doing years’ worth of researching,” he says, Aberdeen was “exactly what the company needed” to complete its virtualization project.
It was the five-year warranty, however, that “was the first thing that enticed me,” Dickinson says. Aberdeen provides the warranty with all its fully configured rackmount servers, including preconfigured Stirling servers and custom-designed servers, warranting the models from the date they’re shipped to be free of material defects and covering workmanship defects for the product’s lifetime.
In addition, Dickinson says, “The support team is great. I have not had any issues with the equipment.” And, he says, G & G is “enjoying the added space and lowered utility bills” it has experienced since its purchase. 

Aberdeen AberNAS 167LX & Stirling 56T Mini 1U Rack
A customizable Linux-based, enterprise-class network-attached storage server built on an open storage platform and deployable in companies ranging from small startups to those with large IT environments. Featuring the Intel®  Xeon® Processor

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Plan For & Perform A Server Upgrade ~ Know The Costs & Infrastructure Requirements Before You Dive In

First Things First

Mapping out short-and long-terms goals, along with corresponding strategies, is vital to a successful server upgrade. Mark Bowker, Enterprise Strategy Group senior analyst says that because server upgrades often align with new IT projects, applications, or application upgrades, it’s important that “IT focus on both the lifecycle of the application and how it aligns with the expected life of the server and account for planned and unplanned scale.” IT should also know its options. Too often, Bowker says, IT purchases server with more capacity than needed, which provides the comfort of extra headroom but also incurs additional expense. “IT should understand what the latest processor chipset is on the market and what the stated roadmap of the chip manufacturers are,” he says. “This will help avoid buying into servers that are at the end of a product lifecycle.”
According to Max Haskvitz, knowing the enterprise’s hard- ware and networking platform is the most important aspect of a server upgrade, but having redundancy in place is also “beyond important, “he says. “Network and data migration are huge issues every enterprise has to deal with; however, if done with an eye for detail, it shouldn’t cause too many headaches. “Prior to an upgrade, he says, back up data and ensure that planned changes will work with the network and applications. “In general, I always would request that the vendor perform the upgrade, “he says. “That way it stays under warranty. If anything goes wrong, you have someone liable that’s outside the company, and you will get resolution in most cases quickly.”

Prep Work
Among the upgrade preparations that Charles Jansen, technical support manager at Aberdeen (, suggests is meeting with decision makers to decide if an upgrade is really worthwhile, as “it may be more time and cost-effective to purchase a new server. “Additionally, schedule down- time to complete the upgrade, determine how long the server will be down—“It can take 24 to72 hours just to build a new RAID group using 1TB/2TB/3TB drives,” Jansen says—and make sure personnel will be avail-able during that timeframe. Also ensure that vendor support will be available, and gather and review device-related documentation to limit surprises, he says.

Jansen also suggests checking the server’s warranty status and whether it can be extended; double-checking and documenting specifications for the current BIOS, firmware, drivers, and internal components; and gathering server and component serial numbers in case support is required. If upgrading the CPU or memory, he says, “be certain that the system will support the additional components. Don’t mix CPU steppings, and don’t mix memory module ranks and speeds.”
If upgrading storage, he says, check that hard drives are compatible with the existing RAID controller; document all drive models, LBA, and firmware; avoid mixing within the same RAID group; and don’t use desktop-grade hard drives in RAID groups. If upgrading a RAID controller, ensure that the new controller is compatible with existing PCI-X o rPCI-E slots. “Most controllers designed to run on PCI-EGen 2 slots will not even be recognized on a PCI-E Gen 1 slot,” he says. If adding external storage, verify that there’s room for required storage host bus adapters, that a driver for the OS is available, and that all media and storage devices work properly, and test installation media on a test system to ensure reliability.

Test Your Work
Overall, Haskvitz advises to be prepared for anything to go wrong and take steps (clone drives, network maps, have a spare server ready, etc.) to avoid downtime. “Though some downtime will likely occur, “he says, “a well-prepared team and a network with redundancy has much more risk-avoidance than upgrading a mission-critical server with no backups [or] fall backs,” he says. Post-upgrade, test for throughput, bandwidth, stability, heat, and memory issues, he says. Good vendors will do this for you, he says, but IT should generally request that a 24-to 48-hourtesting suite be done on new machines and on memory, CPU, or hard drive upgrades.
For servers that have been in production several years, Jansen suggests using manufacturer utilities to test existing memory and hard drives before upgrading. “RAID consistency checks and CHKDSK should be performed to verify volume integrity,” he says, adding that these processes can be time-consuming on large data sets.
Bowker advises referring to hardware compatibility lists to ensure that the workload planned for the server is approved for that hardware. “Depending on the application, an extensive test of the application with a real- world workload should be [performed] on the system,” he says. In some large-scale environments, this may include significant vendor participation. For less-critical projects, IT can run its standard new-install checklist, he says.
Action Plan

Determine the time need- ed to perform upgrade.
Ensure personnel and vendor support will be available.
Gather  necessary warranty, installation, and support documentation.
Verify that the new components, stor- age, or oS are com- patible with system.
Verify that any external storage devices and backup media required work properly
Back up data on the server and test for recovery.
Perform  the upgrade.
Run desired reliability and performance test.

Get Started
Before you get started with a server upgrade or replacement, be sure to plan your budget carefully. Costs associated with a server upgrade can be staggering, says Charles Jansen, technical support manager at Aberdeen ( Possible expenditures include those related to equip- ment, software licensing, labor, telco and power company services, facility improvements, vendor sup- port, and downtime. Additional costs related to supporting a new platform can include those for power, network cabling, cooling, rack space, and management personnel, he says. Enterprise Storage Group analyst Mark Bowker adds that most new servers now include server virtualization, and the addi- tional expense of server virtualization software can add up quickly if not planned for.

Top Tips
Cover the basics. Factor in such basics as space requirements, power availability, and cooling and UPS capacity, says Mark Bowker, Enterprise Strategy Group senior analyst. It should establish a timeline from when they procure the server to when the application running on it goes live into production, he says. this may require collabora- tion with network, security, storage, and application It teams.
Ensure compatibility. Although seemingly obvious, make sure that upgrade compo- nents are compatible with the server. “Many times, I have seen memory just not work simply because its chipset doesnt work with the board or the board doesnt support any more memory, says Max haskvitz.
Are you qualified? only qualified personnel should be involved in an upgrade, says Charles Jansen, technical support manager at Aberdeen ( this includes those “familiar with the server platform, operating system, and applications.Bowker says an upgrade may involve numerous teams, particularly those involving mission-critical applications. “Each team may need to conduct a series of tests, and the time it takes to conduct these tests should be included in the project timeline,he says. A data center operations manager will typically monitor the process, coordinate testing, and bring the server into production, he says.

Ref: Processor News Print