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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [10.06.05]


Over the years, we've been hosted by several companies. Our needs were never that complicated; we grew from being hosted on shared hosts such as Dell Hosting and Communitech (which eventually kicked us out for hosting video card drivers they said they considered to be 'pirated software' - obviously they were clearing house to get away from promises of 'unlimited bandwidth')

Eventually we saw the need for a dedicated server, so we moved over to, then known as RackShack.

Earlier this year, we finally outgrew the $130 per month dedicaded box (which was a Pentium 4 with SDR ram and an 80GB hard drive), and looked into co-location. Unlike dedicated hosting, co-location allows you to manage your own hardware, while they provide the bandwidth and power to run it. For that, we went with NetNation, located at the Bentall 5 building in downtown Vancouver, BC.

As someone who can't stand not being able to build their own system, I was eager to build my own webserver. Although it probably isn't the best idea in the end, I couldn't help myself. Thanks to various sponsors, I was able to put together a decent system that would help get us started in co-location. It's not meant to be the final solution, but rather something to build on, and learn from. Here's what we used.

Intel provided us with the CPU. At the time, the highest end processor they had was the Pentium 4 EE 3.46, their first 1066 MHz FSB processor, and one of the last based on the Northwood core. I purchased an Intel brand motherboard: D925XECV2. Although Intel boards aren't known for having great gaming performance or overclocking features, in my experience they are second to none in reliability. And when using desktop parts in a webserver, that is of utmost importance.

OCZ Technology provided us with 2GB of their lowest latency DDR2 memory. Although they weren't going to be overclocked, I know I can count on them for stability. The tight timings should help a little too.

Our server consists of three hard drives in total. The sites and databases are hosted on a pair of 36GB Western Digital Raptor drives, in a RAID1 configuration. There is also a 250GB Maxtor MaxLine III drive being used as a storage and backup drive.

We needed a 2U chassis to fit all of this hardware into, so I contacted Enermax, who were happy to provide us their ICS217B 2U Rackmount Chassis. It doesn't look like they carry rackmount chassis anymore though; I can't find any listed on their sites.

It was important for the time being to be able to easily install a system using standard hardware and coolers, so 2U was the size chosen.

After installing Fedora and all its updates, and moving the server over, Wolfgang Kritzinger once again had us up and running in no time. We have been on this server for a few months now, without a hitch. We've even survived a /. or two ;)

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