I haven't been writing too much lately. I've had a lot of stuff going on at work. I just hired a new Desktop tech straight out of college, had a few outages at work thanks to Time Warner and SDG&E, and generally lots of projects. As most of you know one of my projects has been setting up virtualization at my home office on two SuperMicro servers. My other big project is building my own SANs using SuperMicro storage servers and OpenFiler.
The problem with those last two projects was that since my company already had a relationship with a fairly big name in IT sales, I decided to go through them. That company was TIG, and I have done tons of business with them over the years, and they have always been good to me. This, however, was the first time I ever ordered any SuperMicro equipment, and apparently I was the first person to order it from TIG. The reason I say that is that every aspect of my orders were messed up in some way.
On my first order they ordered me the wrong RAM twice, then they told me I didn't need an additional RAID controller because the motherboard had RAID integrated. After sending the RAM back twice, I found out that the integrated RAID wasn't supported by XenServer, or even VMware if I decided to fall back on that.
My second order was for the storage servers. I asked for those to come as barebone kits because although building computers is fun, I really don't have time to do that stuff at work. For servers I would like for them to come pre-built, or at least mostly built. Anyway, the chassis and motherboards came separately, and the RAID controllers I ordered for those were too big. It needed low profile cards.
I finally got tired of having to go back and forth with TIG, and hit up my buddy Craig who owns Total Tech Resource Corp in San Diego. I asked if he dealt in SuperMicro, and he said he didn't but then he directed me to Dave over at Priority Computer & Networking (PCN). PCN happens to be a local SuperMicro dealer, and they have all sorts of SuperMicro stuff in stock. If they don't, they can get it. Fast!
TIG finally sent me RAID cards that would work with XenServer, but they didn't send me cables. Because I was putting Xen on SuperMicro 6016T-MTLF's, I need some special SAS to SATA cables that would fit in tight spaces. I tried heading over to Fry's but their selection sucked! I decided to call over to PCN, and sure enough they were in stock! I ran over there, grabbed the cables and had my servers running like absolute dreams in about an hour later.
I decided that with big name servers like HP, Dell, IBM etc you can go with just about anyone. When you need to start getting specialty built servers like when dealing with SuperMicro, it's important to work with experts on the subject. Dave and his team are super knowlegeable about all things SuperMicro. Plus if you order any server through PCN, they will assemble them before sending them out to you, plus they will provide hardware support themeselves! I am positive that any future orders I place for SuperMicro will go through PCN.
Do you use SuperMicro? Do you go through a local dealer for your SuperMicro needs? Are you yourself a SuperMicro guru? Where do you go for hard to find parts to make your life easier when building SuperMicro servers? Let us know in the comments.