Saying “Goodbye” to an old machine

Just about six (or was it seven?) years ago, I suggested to the team that we needed a server to use to store memory dumps to help with tracking bug reports. Memory dumps, if you do not already know, can be several hundred megabytes in size and when you start keeping them around, they can take up a large amount of disk space.

So we looked around at available machines to use as such a file server. The main criteria we wanted was hard drive space, and we defined that as having more hard drive bays than anything else. Our logic was that we would add drives as we needed and the performance boost of avoiding hard drive contention would also be a nice plus.

Second was a network connection that was fast. I thought we wound up putting two network cards in this box but I was mistaken - we made the single LAN connection work over the years.

Least important was a fast CPU. Since this was only going to be used as a file server, there was never much computation it was expected to do.

We finally settled on a Dell Poweredge 840. It had one GB or RAM when it was delivered and a single core Pentium D. Again, if I remember correctly, it ran at 1.5 GHz. It was in our lab from then on. It was named "\\onenotedump" in a fit of creativity. And naturally, people around here used it for more than just dump files. You roll out any sort of a public file server and it gets used for everything - Office docs, sketches for new ideas, symbols for older builds, etc… This goes along with my theory that the amount of data you need to store expands to fill all available hard drive space, but I digress.

We eventually upgraded the hard drives over the years to hold a total of about 10 TB and a coworker and I did some quick math last week about that.

$1300 + 1000 = $2300.00

That's the machine price + 5 drives of 2 TB each for $200. Throw in another $500 for other drives that we swapped in (and out - once we removed a drive from that machine in exchange for a larger we would always hand the drive to someone on the team to use in another machine) and it looks like we spent about $2800 over the life of the machine.

2800/72=38.8889 for 6 years

2800/84=33.3333 for 7

So we averaged between 38.90 and 33.33 per month. Let's call it $36 per month, or just over $1 per day. This is now starting to sound like a cheesy late night television ad: "For only $1 per day, you can own this miracle skillet!"

I never kept track of how many times we used that machine. We moved the data over to a new blade mounted server a few weeks ago and I had forgotten about this machine completely until I saw it in a coworker's office getting stripped and ready for recycling.


You can even see the sticky note that had been on the front of it with the machine name and who to contact in case it started acting up in the lab. I also think it had Windows 2003 server on it for its entire stint.

It was kind of interesting to think about the life cycle of this machine. That dollar per day for 10TB is also an interesting number and provides a rough idea for how much to pay for storage.

This machine worked well for many years and it was odd to see it sitting around.

Questions, comments, concerns and criticisms always welcome,


Comments (2)

  1. Paco says:

    1$ day for 10TB its great.

    If you use a long cord you'll remove the noise also (old desktops usually…).

  2. John says:

    Yep – noise is a large reason we put this in the lab.  Close the doors and you can't hear any of it!

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