In reference to 2U rack hardware, budget but stable, what to buy?

Plus many other similar questions, it has been noted that there's actually nothing in the SF FAQ about asking really localized questions like "What hardware should I buy", or "Which server software should i buy, and which vendor do you guys use".

All of these questions are fairly localized, but also quite useful. I mean, I've asked slightly broader questions about "which is better, iscsi or FCoE?".. which isn't quite the same thing..

It might also cut down on the amount of spam, I'm not aware whether there's any Dell or HP pre-sales engineers on the site, but if there were, I'd have expected someone to jump on that guy pretty quickly!

What should we do with purchasing suggestions / quote-o-matics.

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4 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I see a number of problems, as well as reasons to close, such questions. They are invariable localised. e.g. What may be a great budget buy elsewhere might very well be a costly item where I am and vice versa.

Then we have the issue of subjectivity. For various reasons most of us have our preferences and tend to support those products, despite what others may think of the same thing. e.g. I have limited experience with Supermicro but that experience would most definitely not enourage me to recommend that brand to anyone, despite the fact that quite obviously many others feel differently.

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I find them really difficult to answer for that reason.. I can only answer for the UK market, and tend to go to suppliers who give favourable pricing. It's all tricky. –  Tom O'Connor Feb 1 '11 at 22:46
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Even within a country the whole pricing comparison thing is tricky. I get great prices from a few vendors because a) they give good prices to educational establishments and b) I've built up a relationship with that supplier and c) We're happy to be reference sites etc. as needed in return for a little more help on a price. Even if a business with an office in the street next to my campus asks for advice then any price info I have is still "too localised" to be useful to them! –  RobM Feb 1 '11 at 23:26
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In general these questions are discouraged and should be closed as too localized. Sometimes I think exceptions are okay if they have done their homework etc. More informaition at QA is Hard, Let's go Shopping!.

I will look into updating the FAQ.

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I think shopping questions might need a separate section of the website. Tapping the collective wisdom for SF could be very helpful.

SF is more business-oriented than SO, so I don't think purchasing is as off-topic. Purchasing is often quite germane to the work of a sysadmin.

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Yeah, but the problems can be beyond technical. Shoppings Qs are frequently closed as 'to localized' for a reason. Pricing is simply not doable here simply because there is no such thing as a standard price any more. Technology equivalence, on the other hand, is something we CAN tackle. –  sysadmin1138 Feb 9 '11 at 0:53
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I don't oppose general purchasing recommendation type questions ("What kind of hardware would you recommend for a database handling X tps on a data set of size Y GB?" ; "What type of software are you using/would you recommend for task X?").

Where it gets sticky for me are people asking for specific brands, prices, etc. -- or pitting brands against each other. As Kyle noted these kinds of questions are "too localized", and subjective as well (depends on everyone's experiences with the various vendors).

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Pitting brands against each other - I get antsy when I see 'vs.' in a title or question. Regardless of whether its about purchasing or which technology or topology to use, that means someone wants us to make their decisions for them despite having less information about their needs than they do and that makes me uncomfortable. Especially when 9 times out of 10 they've made what I think are questionable assumptions to arrive at that shortlist in the first place. So yep, 'too locallised' and 'subjective' for my taste. –  RobM Feb 1 '11 at 6:33
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