what to do with spare servets

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mothership
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what to do with spare servets

Post by mothership » Sat Apr 27, 2013 3:09 pm

So for my work I'll have a bunch of carrier class servers mothballed at the end. There is nothing wrong with them and we can't give them away so I'm trying to find a use for them. One of the things I'll be building is a remote wire shark network and the other is a test sip PBX. The other thought is to set up a bunch and create a virtualization cluster for future use. What else could we use these for?
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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by CatScanMan » Sat Apr 27, 2013 3:32 pm

I'll pay postage and packaging to send one to me. I'd love a server to play with.

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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by CatScanMan » Sat Apr 27, 2013 3:35 pm

Hang on, 'carrier-grade'? Not sure what that means. Can slap a standard Linux distro on them, right?

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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by ZAffer » Sat Apr 27, 2013 5:24 pm

"The other thought is to set up a bunch and create a virtualization cluster for future use."

That.
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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by ZAffer » Sat Apr 27, 2013 5:34 pm

Actually quite a tricky problem! What DO you do with perfectly good hardware? Maybe a fail safe backup system for someone else? (In a different physical location.) Storing cctv footage? Open a multi-player video arcade? Make them available to something like SETI?
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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by ZAffer » Sat Apr 27, 2013 5:59 pm

Gottit! Convert them to DVR's and sell them!
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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by mothership » Sun Apr 28, 2013 2:44 am

Carrier grade as in they were parts of phone switches. 16 CPU raid hard drive 16 gig of ram, pretty hard core stuff. Unit if currently formatted with a custom Linux, however it wouldn't be hard to going straight to red hat. These are more meant for processing rather than a minor media storage uh unless you had a couple of hundred concurrent users. Set I would be pretty cool but these are a company asset so wheat over I do has to have a net benefit
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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by ZAffer » Sun Apr 28, 2013 3:50 am

Why mothball in the first place?

Bitcoin node.
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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by CatScanMan » Sun Apr 28, 2013 10:50 am

16 CPU raid hard drive 16 gig of ram


I like it. I'm now even more convinced that sending one to me is the best possible use of one of them. No money spent on professional disposal and massive amounts of karma.

Another use might be as a company Minecraft server. For teambuilding and morale purposes.

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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by muthafunky » Sun Apr 28, 2013 4:09 pm

Why not sell them?

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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by ZAffer » Sun Apr 28, 2013 5:20 pm

I'd go with the Bitcoin node. Seriously. You have the processing power, and the comms links. The costs, to you, (your company) will be negligible. The profits and asset-appreciation could be fucking huge after 2 years. More so in 5 years. As the servers start failing, and they're in some kind of 'cloud' configuration, no biggie.
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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by muthafunky » Sun Apr 28, 2013 6:01 pm

The profit would be larger just selling them.

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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by StrangeLove » Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:41 pm

I like virtualization. We use VMWare a lot.

Also, look at open stack to set up your own cloud.

Or FreeNAS for a NAS.

Bit coin mining is most efficient with powerful GPUs. That's probably not a good use for rack servers.
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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by muthafunky » Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:11 pm

Everything we do at work is VM these days. I must not be a good nerd as I don't any need for a server at home.

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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by pezworld » Mon Apr 29, 2013 6:50 pm

muthafunky wrote:Everything we do at work is VM these days. I must not be a good nerd as I don't any need for a server at home.

Wait til you have a mini-mutha and in about five years he/she'll need the then-equivalent of your personal Minecraft server changed every ten minutes. 'Course in another year or two he'll/she'll be coding circles around you.
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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by muthafunky » Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:26 pm

Minecraft server is the only thing that sort of makes sense to me.

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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by StrangeLove » Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:29 pm

muthafunky wrote:Everything we do at work is VM these days. I must not be a good nerd as I don't any need for a server at home.


You'll never be Mayor of Nerdtown with that attitude.

I have an ESXi server at home, running minecraft, sabnzbd, couchpotato, and calibre. I also have a FreeNAS box that stores all my music, ebooks, and videos.
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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by pezworld » Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:27 pm

muthafunky wrote:Minecraft server is the only thing that sort of makes sense to me.

I think ehs enjoys it, though he's spent some time trying to tweak the setup so he can have a 24hr Minecraft server on the Raspberry Pi and keep the big computer off most of the time. But that's kind of a hobby for him on a weekend.

Kid really does request a lot of changes, and ehs hopes kid will learn a lot on his own. Then there are kidfriends who rant at kid when the one of the servers we host isn't to their specifications! :roll:

This is part of the fun of being a dad (for ehs), I guess. Possibly something for mutha to look forward to!
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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by ZAffer » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:06 am

"Bit coin mining is most efficient with powerful GPUs. That's probably not a good use for rack servers."

Didn't you see the specs on these machines? Ideal fit.
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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by StrangeLove » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:16 am

ZAffer wrote:"Bit coin mining is most efficient with powerful GPUs. That's probably not a good use for rack servers."

Didn't you see the specs on these machines? Ideal fit.


https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Why_a_GPU_mi ... than_a_CPU

A CPU core can execute 4 32-bit instructions per clock (using a 128-bit SSE instruction) or 8 via AVX (256-Bit), whereas a GPU like the Radeon HD 5970 can execute 3200 32-bit instructions per clock (using its 3200 ALUs or shaders). This is a difference of 800 (or 400 in case of AVX) times more instructions per clock. As of 2011, the fastest CPUs have up to 6, 8, or 12 cores and a somewhat higher frequency clock (2000-3000 MHz vs. 725 MHz for the Radeon HD 5970), but one HD5970 is still more than five times faster than four 12-core CPUs at 2.3GHz (which would also set you back about $4700 rather than $350 for the HD5970).
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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by ZAffer » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:30 am

Mothership would have to weigh in on this one: he knows how many servers he has, and their capabilities, but 'carrier class' servers are usually pretty good at routine stuff, plus handling a lot of data.
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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by muthafunky » Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:37 am

Rack servers don't have powerful GPUs. Why would they?

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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by ZAffer » Tue Apr 30, 2013 2:18 am

He didn't say if they were rack servers or not. Not that it matters much.

"Carrier grade as in they were parts of phone switches. 16 CPU raid hard drive 16 gig of ram, pretty hard core stuff. Unit if currently formatted with a custom Linux, however it wouldn't be hard to going straight to red hat. These are more meant for processing rather than a minor media storage "
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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by muthafunky » Tue Apr 30, 2013 2:33 am

Servers in general have weak gpus.

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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by ZAffer » Tue Apr 30, 2013 2:44 am

muthafunky wrote:Servers in general have weak gpus.


True, but you're missing the point. Bitcoin calculations are quite complex, and processor heavy. So, IF you were starting from scratch, it makes sense to offload some of the work onto GPU's. (Because GPU hardware is relatively cheap) So the software will be wrtiiten to do that. This isn't the case here: he already has the processing power! So that cost factor is out of the equation. Put another way: let's say you have a huge, complex problem to solve. The more processing power you have, the faster you can solve it. He's already got that. The only thing now to work out is how to tie/link all the servers, so it can solve the problem faster.
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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by mothership » Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:54 am

I've got 27 of the things coming off of our production and pre production networks. The problem with the virtualization configuration is that the servers would then go to another department, and I'd have my servers gone at that point with little input as to the actual deployment if I went that route. This is about me and showing by boss how I've built something out of spare assets that were not doing anything before.

a SIP honeypot would also be fun to build.

I do like the bitcoin idea and probably would have a couple of months to experiment if I built the proper business case. Another problem is that the company is looking at placing an internal cost to equipment located in it's data centers, so the business case would have to factor ROI. Cost would include rack space, power, AC, monitoring, and all that other fun stuff that isn't quite transparent to most.
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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by ZAffer » Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:15 am

Configure them all in such a way that you have a trojan so that you can use/monitor them. Then let them move to another department. Let THEM worry about the TCO. They'll probably sit there doing sweet FA. Re-route all bitcoin transactions to them. Sorted!
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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by muthafunky » Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:24 am

True, but you're missing the point. Bitcoin calculations are quite complex, and processor heavy. So, IF you were starting from scratch, it makes sense to offload some of the work onto GPU's. (Because GPU hardware is relatively cheap) So the software will be wrtiiten to do that. This isn't the case here: he already has the processing power! So that cost factor is out of the equation. Put another way: let's say you have a huge, complex problem to solve. The more processing power you have, the faster you can solve it. He's already got that. The only thing now to work out is how to tie/link all the servers, so it can solve the problem faster.


You are still missing the point that the hardware he has probably has very little gpu power and it's certainly not "cheap" to add it. He doesn't have that processing power (the servers probably just have onboard video), he just has cpus, which according to Strangelove's link are something like .1% as powerful as the equivalent GPU. In other words, 27 servers probably has less computing power (for something like Bitcoins) than your average home owner's desktop. I'm fairly certain using them for Bitcoin would be a money losing prospect.

But by all means, go for it. I'm sure setting up old servers to mine bitcoins is no worse than buying gold.

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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by ZAffer » Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:50 am

I think YOU'RE missing the point, because you're used to GPU's. Never mind. THIS is the basis of all modern GPU's:


The MC6847 is a video display generator (VDG) first introduced by Motorola and used in the TRS-80 Color Computer, Dragon 32/64, Laser 200 and Acorn Atom among others. It is a relatively simple display generator compared to other display chips of the time.

The principals remain the same tho, and only mothership can assess the situation properly.

Using graphics hardware to implement a COMPUTING problem is a 'sideways' move. It's a not-very-elegant solution to crunching lotsa numbers, which is what carrier-class computers do.
Put another way: how many supercomputers have extensive GPU's? None.
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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by CatScanMan » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:30 am

Zaffer, even if electricity were free and the goal was bitcoin mining it would still make far more sense to sell these and buy computers that are something like the cheapest CPU possible with 4 of whatever are the most efficient cards/GPUs. Or maybe a dedicated mining machine.

With electricity not being free I imagine these servers put to this use would lose money.

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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by CatScanMan » Tue Apr 30, 2013 11:55 am

Actually zaffer, I gather the only two ways to make bitcoin mining worthwhile are with scale and/or cheap electricity. With scale you need to be at or near the cutting edge with hardware/software. You need to have enough hardware so that all the time and effort you spend keeping up-to-date with the software, tweaks, tricks, etc is time well spent because you can apply it to a lot of hardware. It'd be be an IT job.

But if you can get low cost electricity then all that wouldn't matter so much. If your hydro power thing can generate electricity at significantly below the cost your local power sells it then you could be on to a winner. Or if you could get free electricity somehow... In that situation I doubt it would require that much of an investment to create a nice beer money generator.

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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by ZAffer » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:14 pm

The OP wanted ideas as to what to do with a bunch of powerful servers.
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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by StrangeLove » Tue Apr 30, 2013 2:36 pm

All the easy bitcoins have been mined. CPU mining is generally accepted as unprofitable at this point, but if he's that adamant about it go ahead and find out.
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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by ZAffer » Wed May 08, 2013 4:58 am

So. What are you going to do with them?
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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by mothership » Fri May 10, 2013 2:48 am

My boss is on vacation. I'm going to propose the PBX, wire shark server, and a virtualization environment for disaster recovery planning. I'm also going to talk about the bit coin with the addition that our customers should have the option to pay in bit currency
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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by ZAffer » Sat May 11, 2013 12:33 pm

That bitcoin is going to be a tuff sell!
DiTTo the pbx. Won't you have to add specalised hardware? (Eg Dialogic)
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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by mothership » Sat May 11, 2013 3:52 pm

It will be most likely a variant of asterix for the PBX. What I've found is that most of the software, while is compatible with red hat Linux 2.6 doesn't quite have the multiple sip trunk capability that I want to test out. But the is test equipment and is to replicate customer issues, so it probably will do the job. Now its just the design that I have to figure out as I have to integrate the management circuit into our oamp network while on the other interface have multiple vlans for the different traffic types. I wish I had a spare SBC but since most of our customers don't have one I'll view this as an opportunity.
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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by mothership » Fri Oct 25, 2013 1:35 am

Have to post an update. My first pbx is up and running. right now for software I'm running elastix 2.4 and the server is as follows:
6 gig RAM
2 * 2.4 intel xeon processor
75 gig RAID 1 at the SCSI level
4 network interfaces with divergent subnets
3 - 4 DS1 digium T1 interface PCI cards

right now I'm trying to build with 7 digit extensions and have to build the digit manipulation on the serving switch to strip out the NPA on the 10 digit dial plan on the DID's. I've also got 3 separate SIP trunks with full transcoding enabled on the SBC to evaluate new CODECS and their effect on the network. All incoming SIP traffic is fully monitored and available to our call trace tool. I've just got to now properly configure the T1's for NFAS signalling so I can further evaluate this service on our new media gateways. At the end of this whole exercise this thing will be able to handle several hundred concurrent calls if I wanted to create enough extensions and logins.

My music on hold is set to Parliament's "Maggot Brain"

fun times indeed.
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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by ZAffer » Thu Nov 28, 2013 10:11 am

I'll bet you're sorry for not going the Bitcoin route!
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Re: what to do with spare servets

Post by mothership » Sat Apr 05, 2014 2:31 pm

So the monster is up and running on our network fully integrated into our production and pre-production environments as a test bed. The T1 cards are only homed into pre-prod at the moment and already this test bed has proven invaluable for finding issues with a couple of planned software patches that we were to roll out (SBCs and our SIP server that acts as the session agent for our internal networks). Now I'm having to fully document everything and publish it to my department, however all the admin passwords will be left out to preserve integrity of the system.
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Re: what to do with spare servers

Post by mothership » Fri Apr 13, 2018 2:05 am

new project. I've got a old server from work that has the following:
-quad 2.6 GHz xeon processors
-16 Gigs' RAM
-1 Tb of fully raided 11 15K SAS HDD's.
-Dual AC power supplies

I'll be uploading KVM to this as my virtualization platform at home so I can build an IMS network. For shits and giggles.
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