Full Service Servers
1U servers aren't just for Web serving. These skinny boxes can provide you with everything from application serving to small databases.Dynamic Net, a managed Web-hosting provider in Brooks County, Pennsylvania, faced a density problem. Like many companies, Dynamic Net rents or "collocates space for" its servers at a third-party data center. "As anyone in this business knows, collocation fees are based on rack space and connectivity," says Dynamic Nets CEO, Peter Abraham. "Regardless of how many servers can fit in a single rack, the rack fees stay the same; you pay per rack, not per server." Dynamic Net had a mix of servers, mostly 4U devices. But the company could fit only ten 4U servers in a single 42U rack, and the large servers needed constant processor and RAM upgrades as the company added customers. (A U is an Electronic Industries Alliance standard unit; each U equals 1.75 inches in height.)
To bring his collocation costs under control, Abraham switched to 1U servers in September 2002. "We gained everything and lost nothing by going from 4U to 1U," he says, noting that his firm can now fit up to 42 servers with 84 processors in a single rack, as opposed to 10 4U servers with 20 processors on a rack. His firm can still run everything it needs on the 1U servers, including Web hosting, e-mail hosting, spam prevention, and antivirus features. And even with a small 1U form factor, each server can support 500 customers, versus 200 customers under the old setup.