Hemo and buying a used server

A humor Image of a monkey looking at a computer screen.
Just a Random Image XD

Months ago I decided to finally build my personal home lab. I decided to build mine so I can develop my skills and become more familiar with breaking servers. As a result, I allocated some budget for the project that does not exceed 1000 BHD ( about $2600). My requirements are a server enclosure ( Server Rack) that is no more than 30U, a single U used server and few switches and routers for the first phase.

In this blog post I will cover my experience of getting a used server in Bahrain. In other countries the experience will be totally different.

Getting the rack

I tried to get a server rack as cheap as possible. I was looking for a used worn out rack for month but no luck. After that, I scouted most IT shops in the country for an affordable one. However, the cheapest one I found was for about 150 BHD ($380). A godsend friend who works for an IT vendor in the region used his networking to allow me to have a new rack for close to free.

The used server

Buying Locally

After securing a rack to store the equipment I started looking for used servers. I chose getting a  used one because I don’t need brand new server in the server lab. After some time I found a used server for about 1000 BHD, which is way above my budget. After giving up finding a used to for an affodable price in the kingdom, I looked for low end new server and I found one for an affordable price (Sort of).

Buying Online

Logo of servermonkey used server seller
Server Monkey logo

 

Before going to buy the weak server, I googled for companies that sells refurbished servers. I found a chunk of them, but I decided to go for ServerMonkey. ServerMonkey sells refurbished hardware that is pulled from working environment then they refurbish them to  give those hardware a second life. To my surprise server cost and shipping from The States to Bahrain is less than buying a refurbished one and the imported one is better and newer than the local one.

When I got my server the packaging was really good and saved the equipment for crashing with each other all the way from US to here. Installing the server in the rack went with no issues thanks to some videos on YouTube. Finally I connected my Server into my PDU.

Hemo’s Take

Unfortunately, there is not a single community that manages refurbishing used equipment in the country. Also retailer here should stop selling used equipment at a ridiculous prices. People who are buying these stuff are not business, but people building their home server labs. Be mercy on them.

Introduction to Linux

Picture of Linux mascot
Linux mascot “Tux”

As a tech worker, one of the skills that is a must is ability to use Linux. I won’t give you a walkthrough on how to write your first command or how to install it. However, I will talk about what do you need to know about Linux before using it. It is because Linux is not just an operating system. It is philosophy and an interesting story in a form of an operating system. 

What is Linux? 

Linux is an open source operating system created by Linus Torvalds for x86 architecture and then for other architectures. Linux is greatly seen and used in data centres due to its performance, stability and flexibility. 

Open Sauce ?!! 

No not open sauce but open source. In software development world there are two different philosophies. The first believes no one should ever see how a certain application is made and nothing of its source code is open to public. This philosophy is called closed source or proprietary code.  The other school believes that the source code must be open for public and they have the modify the code for their need, as long as they give credit to the original author. 

Linux History

In 1991 when Linus Torvalds was still as student he found out that there isn’t a free and open sourced operating system that available for the public. So, he decided to build a new operating system that free and opensource. 

Linux in depth… slightly

Over the years Linus is pretty much different than what it was in 1991. Also, due to availability of its code for the masses, there are many flavors of Linux. Each flavor is called a distribution. Each distribution differs from other by having different collection of application that are added to the system.  

Distributions are split into two families; RedHat and Debian. Each family has its own characteristics. RedHat is a commercial Distribution that is free but you have to pay for it for its support. RedHat is also known for its stability and production ready. However, its update cycle is usually slower than the Debian family. Debian family is entirely free and tend to update every 6 months. Moreover, it is equipped with the latest technologies and applications. 

Hemo’s Take

There isn’t the best distribution of Linux, because each distro has its benefits. As a result, you should choose the distro that matches your needs. Thus, I advise you to play with various distros until best fit is found and chosen.