As I prepare to change jobs one of the things I will miss about my current employer is the LAB (capitalized because a lab this awesome deserves it). Nexus 7k, 6k, 5k, two UCS fabric, UCS blades, and UCS C460s all backed by a VNX plus whatever storage they are beta testing for EMC.
There are two main flavors of these boxes, the C6100 which is Intel powered and the dsc6005 / C6105 that is powered by the AMD 6 Core Opteron 2419 EE. The Intel powered option has gone up in price, but there are currently a flood of the AMD powered boxes selling on Ebay for good prices. For $479 I got a chassis with three dual socket servers with each server having two Six-Core Opterons and 32GB of RAM. There are 12 3.5in drive bays on the front, and each server is wired to four drive bays.
Dive into the detailed build out after the break.
The box shows up one day and I excitedly open it up and plug the server in. Holy crap is this thing LOUD. At start up it screams like a jet at takeoff, and once they fans idle down a bit it just sounds like a jet on the tarmac. It has four 80x80x38mm fans behind the drive bays, and they are screamers rated at 140cfm at high static pressure and 70db. The idle speed on these things seems to be 5k RPM and the max is 9k.
In the above picture you can see the fans in the lower portion of the image. The fans are an easy swap, but not plug and play. I had to splice the long fan header cables to the new fan and install the blue rubber mounts. It took about an hour and a half with the splicing. The noise was reduced to 1/3 of the stock configuration and I can now easily sit in the room with the server and have a phone conversation, which wasn't possible with the original fans.
While I had the case open I decided to shuffle the RAM around so I had 16GB, 32GB, and 48GB. I also installed a small USB drive in the on MB USB header on each since I'm going to install ESXi and FreeNAS directly to USB. The small SanDisk Cruzer Fit is low enough to fit in the vertical USB port without hitting the blade or lid above. You can see the USB port at the top of the image above.