I have a secret to share with you…
Near-unlimited power is not something available only to Governments, dystopian Megacorps & the Dark Lord of the Sith; it can be yours too, and at a fraction of the price.
Welcome to the ICT Direct Server Special!
Enterprise-grade server hardware is some of the most powerful, reliable, over-engineered and expensive equipment on the planet.
Ordinary people use it every single day without even thinking about what they’re doing. Our whole society is currently powered by bank upon bank, rack upon rack of servers in hundreds of datacentres around the globe.
In an information-driven society, effective storage, manipulation and rapid transfer of data are big business and the top manufactures are always looking to produce more efficient machines to enable this. Intel release an iterative evolution of their successful CPU architecture year on year whilst AMD have made amazing leaps forward recently with their Ryzen CPUs offering immense performance at a fraction of the market price. Big names such as HP, Dell & IBM churn out ever more capable systems. Forcing obsolescence on thousands upon thousands of machines that have barely had chance to properly cut their teeth.
This practise of constant rolling upgrades makes our day to day lives ever-more convenient. Ordering that book from Amazon (remember when they only sold books?) gets half a second quicker. Transferring eBay auction profits from PayPal to your bank becomes a near instantaneous event and ordering a celebratory Starbucks so that it is waiting for you on arrival takes just a few taps of an app.
But at what price all this convenience?
The cost of this throwaway attitude to server infrastructure is literal shipping containers full of unwanted server hardware, destined for landfill if it can’t be saved.
Enter 1st Technologies…
We have been the nation’s top server refurbisher for many many years now. Our Bargain Hardware store built its reputation on a foundation of providing mind-blowing hardware for a brand-defining bargain price. ICT Direct have also built a reputation for producing low-priced server builds with such amazing specification that our customers often hadn’t even dreamed they could fulfil their infrastructure needs AND have money left over for the annual Christmas party!
But how does it work? The enterprise hardware market is a brutal system. Often whole datacentres are upgraded in one fell swoop. Day-to-day operations are offloaded to other sites on the network using redundant capacity that service providers have built into their systems. Next, the local sysadmin will run data-erasure across the whole of the network due to be replaced. When complete, hundreds of servers will power down, their usefulness at an end.
Next a disposals company will be on hand to remove each server, only they don’t remove one server at a time. Oh no! Server PDUs are disconnected from the mains and in-cabinet switches have their uplink cables disconnected, but each server will remain wired to the cabinet power distribution unit and network switch. Teams will wheel dozens and dozens of 42U rack cabinets out to the waiting wagons who will then ship these now-defunct servers to a warehouse where an inventory can be taken. With hundreds and hundreds of similarly specced machines now sat with no further purpose, this is where we come in.
Periodically, 1st Technologies will be sent huge spreadsheets from various disposal companies. Each spreadsheet will contain the intimate details of hundreds of decommissioned servers. At this point we’re invited to place a bid for the contents of the spreadsheet. We have experts in our trade purchasing team who assess the market and assign a cost value to each component before making a formal bid. Working this way allows us to better understand the true value of the hardware we’re trying to purchase which, in turn, allows us to bid smartly, giving us a better chance of securing the deal.
We can bid for thousands of servers in the confidence that our main sales channels will sell them on quickly.
When we win a bid and a shipping container full of top-level servers arrives at our processing warehouse, they are treated in much the same way as laptops and desktops but with the addition of some seriously smart in-house hard disc testing routines – designed and implemented by our most skilled technicians. We also strip our servers right down to just a bare chassis and motherboard, only essential cables remain connected. This is where the magic really happens, and our ability to package your ultimate server with an affordable price tag begins.
Our server hardware offering is fully CTO (configure to Order). Three years ago, we shifted our warehousing software to Microsoft Dynamics with the aim of creating the world’s finest component-level stock database. We took months getting it just right and now you can take full advantage. We can help you build your prospective server from the ground upwards, picking from millions of potential hardware configurations as you go.
Fancy 12 cores in your CPU AND decent clock-speed? The Xeon E5-2697 V2 is for you? Need something basic to handle domain controller duties, here’s an E5-2609 V3. How about RAM? You can fill every slot in your prospective machine with the choice of dozens of different memory modules? Need more RAM than the combined processing power of a small country? 24 x 64GB DDR4 modules are the order of play. Think that might be a little over the top (but think of the possibilities…)? Well how about a more reserved 12 x 8GB instead?
We can do this for every-single-component in a server. Raid controllers, hard drives / solid state drives, network interface cards, remote access licenses, PCIe expansion cards, rack rails; you can even choose the perfect wattage and efficiency rating of your power supplies!
It isn’t just the ability to build your dream server using our enormous component stockpile, however. Oh no!
When you buy a top-tier refurbished server you know two things. Firstly these machines have lived a good life to date. They’ve done a couple of years in a datacenter. Air conditioned and dust-free, with perfectly regulated voltages, sharing the workload with dozens of identical siblings. There’s no better environment for ideal operation, rack servers like this simply thrive in these surroundings. Secondly, you know you’re getting something reliable. So reliable in fact that we happily give them a three year warranty as standard. Server hardware is not only built to last, it is built to endure, to survive and work for as long as possible. We include a warranty for your peace of mind, but honestly, we don’t expect you to need it.
With our inbound & outbound testing regimes, plus world-class quality control, you can be sure that your reassuringly-affordable behemoth of a server will contentedly power through everything you throw at it for years to come.
Another benefit, one which goes hand-in hand with such great affordability and also speaks to an in-place solution that provides seamless reliability is redundancy. Where once you might have struggled to afford a single server, now you can afford two, likely with spare change in your pocket. The ultimate peace of mind comes from having a replicated system idling away ready to step up should the worst happen to your prime machine.
We have assisted numerous customers set up such configurations, ensuring they’re covered by both warranty, failover hardware and our knowledgeable support team.
Tomorrow’s Future, Today
Before they hit the mainstream consumer markets, new technologies are often incorporated into enterprise hardware (at considerable expense). Better network connectivity, faster storage media, innovative remote access systems, advanced diagnostic facilities, intelligent protection. These are all features that come as standard.
Take Solid State drives. NVMe (PCIe) SSDs are commonplace nowadays, giving huge performance boosts to budget laptops and serious gaming systems alike. But if you think they’re quick you should see what throughput 4 x 1.6TB U.2 NVMe Enterprise SSD drives can offer when they’re working together in a logical drive array… Its astounding!
This technology is particularly effective when combined with Microsoft’s ever-improving Storage Spaces Direct (S2D). Combining unbelievably quick NVMe drives with classic spinning SAS drives across multiple machines in a hyper-converged cluster of servers is a tremendous way of utilising every last scrap of power, speed & storage available to you. However these configurations when new will set you back tens of thousands of pounds. We’ve seen some companies quoting in excess of £25k for a 3-server setup!
The price of our equivalent 3-server setup utilising both the speed of NVMe and the hyper-converged benefits of S2D? Less than £12,000! That’s an enormous 50% saving for a system that brings you right up to date.
With a Cherry on Top
I could go on…. Maybe talk about 40Gb network connectivity, Tesla compute and Grid VDI GPUs from nVidia or storage arrays that can stack up to 70 SSDs in a RAID 10 mega array for blistering read/write speeds.
But that’s for another time. For now, why not browse our website. I’ve custom-configured some servers just for YOU! Remember, if you want to change even the tiniest thing, drop us a line.
There’s a reason we’re the best in the business, especially when it comes to server hardware. Let us show you just how good we are!
Oh… Stay tuned for Part 2.