Dell CS24-SC Server

I’ve been using the Dell CS24-SC servers at work now for about two years, so I figured I’d post about them.  While they are Dell-branded systems, they are manufactured for Dell by Quanta.  Most of them were manufactured for Facebook.  The most common hardware configuration we’ve seen is a Dual Xeon L5420 with 16GB RAM.

The BIOS and BMC firmware that comes on most of these systems are horribly outdated. There are a few BIOS and BMC firmware versions floating around, but the most stable ones I’ve found are BIOS 3A25 and BMC version 2.50.  They are available on

The systems perform very well and are reasonable on power usage compared to other servers utilizing these CPUs, thanks to the DDR2 ECC PC2-5300P Registered RAM modules.  These RAM modules use a fraction of the power that Fully Buffered DIMMs use, which was the most common RAM used on the Xeon 5400 series.  The CS24-SC is limited to a maximum of 24GB RAM using 4GB modules.  The RAM is also available very inexpensively on the used market.

They run all modern operating systems with no issues that we’ve run into so far.

Based on performance per dollar, these systems are a great value, even though they are as much as 7 years old now.

SuperMicro SuperServer 6018R-MT / X10DRL-i

My company recently purchased a SuperMicro SuperServer 6018R-MT which contains a X10DRL-i motherboard.  The BMC in the server would not work after configuring the IP address, despite upgrading the BMC firmware.  The server came from the factory installed with version 1.50, and we updated to the latest version from the SuperMicro website (which was 1.64).  We originally thought that it could be related to the BMC now running on a 1 Gbps port instead of the 100 Mbps port speed of previous SuperMicro BMCs.  We tried different switch ports, switches, Ethernet cables, switch port settings, and lots of other things in an attempt to get it working.  After a few frustrating hours, we plugged a laptop directly into the BMC port, configured the Ethernet port of the laptop to an IP address in the same subnet as the BMC, and to our surprise we were able to get to the web interface!  It seems that the gateway address was not being sent from the BIOS to the BMC.  After manually setting the gateway address through the web interface, we were able to access the BMC with no issues.  Another alternative is to use the ipmicfg utility available from SuperMicro’s website.

I thought I’d post this in case anyone else runs into issues with this specific system/motherboard.  Hopefully it saves you some time!

South Carolina House Passes Tax Break for Data Centers

I just saw an article in The State about the South Carolina House passing tax incentives for new data center builds. Basically, it waives sales tax on power consumption, matching similar incentives in North Carolina and Virginia.

This should be interesting to see how South Carolina stacks up versus North Carolina for future builds from the likes of Google, Facebook, Apple, etc. South Carolina taxes are overall lower anyway (NC currently has the 6th highest gas tax in the country – versus 47th for SC), so it should give them a slight advantage. Additionally, the Upstate of South Carolina is very close to Atlanta, which is a major hub for Internet traffic.

Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom

President Bush announced on Thursday that Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn would be among the recepients of this year’s Presidential Medal of Freedom. Cerf and Kahn designed the original code used to transmit data over the Internet. A fitting tribute to two individuals who had a hand in creating the catalyst for much economic prosperity for the world.

Utah Law Requires ISPs to Block Content

March 4, 2005 — (WEB HOST INDUSTRY REVIEW) — According to reports, the Utah Senate approved legislation last week that would require Internet service providers to block access to publicly accessible Web sites that host pornographic content and are considered to be harmful to minors. The legislation would reportedly create a public list of Web sites to which ISPs would be forced to deny access. ISPs that do not comply with the blocking requirements of the law would face criminal charges.

Internet service providers, according to reports, oppose the bill and analysts are concerned that the wording of the legislation is confusing and vague enough to go beyond Internet service providers and potentially affect email providers, search engines and Web hosting companies. Advocacy groups however, support the bill.

Reports say Utah Governor Jon Huntsman is expected to sign the bill. He has until March 22, 2005.

I’m sorry, but this is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard. How can you expect ISP’s to block content? This better be thrown out.

Google is now a Domain Registrar

Google is now an ICANN-accredited registrar of domain names, providing it with yet another potential line of expansion. The fast-growing search provider is approved to sell names in seven top-level domains (TLDs) including .com, .net, .org, .biz., info, .name and .pro.

Google’s registrar status, first noted by LexText, is likely to prompt speculation about its ambitions in web hosting and blogging. Google operates Blogger, the free blog hosting service with a huge user base. Cheap or free domain names could prove useful to Google in the notoriously price-sensitive blog hosting sector, where most bloggers use subdomains (i.e. rather than full domain names (

Domain sales have also become an important tool in the business hosting market, where domain registrations have surged in the past 18 months, even as prices have dropped steadily. Hosting providers like Hostway, EV1Servers, Interland and Yahoo have used cheap domains to attract hosting customers.

Those four hosting companies are not domain registrars, however. All buy their domains from wholesalers like Tucows, Go Daddy or Melbourne IT, and have a minimum per-domain cost, usually at least $6.50. Rather than viewing domains as a for-profit business, these providers have approached domain sales as a marketing cost. A recent survey by The Web Host Industry Review found that the keyword phrase “web hosting” was selling for $7.70 per click on Google AdWords and $9.02 on Overture. Not all of those clicks will become new customers, either, making a $1 or $2 loss on a domain sale seem like an affordable way to acquire a customer.

The greatest domain cost efficiencies are available to hosting companies that are also ICANN-accredited registrars, such as 1&1 Internet of Germany, which offers .com domains at $5.99, the lowest non-promotional price of any major hosting provider. As a registrar, Google could have similar flexibility to aggressively price its domain names.

Definately interesting. I’ll be happy to transfer my domains to Google if they have good prices and a good web interface. – Share and share unalike

I know this article is old, but I still found it to be interesting.

FASB did, however, manage to make firms include a footnote in their accounts detailing the share options awarded during the year. Smithers & Co., a research firm in London, calculated the cost of these footnoted options and concluded that the American companies granting them overstated their profits by as much as half in the financial year ending in 1998. In some cases, particularly that of high-tech firms (which tend to be generous with options), the disparity is even greater. For instance, Microsoft, the world�s most valuable company, declared a profit of $4.5 billion in 1998; when the cost of options awarded that year, plus the change in the value of outstanding options, is deducted, the firm made a loss of $18 billion, according to Smithers.

Well, I guess even Microsoft has trouble making a profit all the time. 🙂 I hope that companies start using proper accounting practices and declare the cost of stock options appropriately.

Gaim 1.1.1 Released

Here’s the changelog:

version 1.1.1 (12/28/2004):
* Allow SILC authentication via public key if your key is password protected (Michele Baldessari)
* More MSN bug fixes (Felipe Contreras)
* Drag-and-drop to conversation window file transfers work again
* Disable the delete button on pounces that aren’t saved yet anyway (Kevin Stange)

Forecast: Three of Top 10 PC Vendors Will Exit the Market by 2007

Stamford, Conn. — A new report from Gartner, a Stamford-based technology market research and analysis firm, forecasts that three of the top 10 PC manufacturers will exit the market by 2007, driven out by slow growth rates and reduced profit margins. Gartner forecasts the growth of PC unit sales to average 5.7% annually from 2006 through 2008 — half the 11.3% average of 2003 through 2005. At the same time, revenue growth will average only 2% annually from 2006 through 2008, less than half the 4.7% average of 2003 through 2005, Gartner predicts. The top 10 worldwide PC vendors, by unit shipment, are Dell, HP, IBM, Fujitsu, Fujitsu Siemens, Toshiba, NEC, Apple Computer, Lenovo Group and Gateway. Of these, only Dell has consistently been profitable in the past several years, Gartner said.