Flat computers for serving webpages and stuff, before it all went virtual.

Published , updated by Richard GoodwinFiled under Computers

Linux Server: Knox (AKA Neo3)

All of my sites, including this one and The Icon Bar, used to run on a 1U server hosted in Docklands, London.  It seems almost laughable now that this was considered over-specced for future proofing, when these days it's a poor spec for a mobile 'phone.

I've built computers from scratch, I've bought them complete, but my favourite way of doing it is to buy something that's OK as a base and then add customisations to meet my exact requirements.

The photographs are of the box as it arrived from Microland UK. The machine on the website was white but asking for black in the order comments paid off. I then ripped apart their beautiful handiwork and replaced the main 40BG Maxtor drive with an IBM one - I wanted the main drive to be 7,200rpm rather than the usual 5,400rpm, I didn't know the Maxtor one was also a faster drive until I took it out. Still, IBM drives are supposed to be better than Maxtor, although personally I've never had a problem with either.

I then removed the floppy drive (because space is at a premium in a 1U case) and replaced it with a 120GB data drive - more than I needed, but I don't intend to buy a replacement for a while; and as Mandrake recognised the onboard network interface I removed the Intel NIC and the right angle PCI adapter with an eye to using them where they're needed more or selling them on. I left the CD ROM in place disconnected simply to avoid having to make a blanking plate or mess up the cooling by having a gaping hole in the front - most of my machines had either a CD ROM or where possible combo DVD/CDR drives already, so it wasn't a great loss.

The server had 1GB of RAM (again, slightly overspec'ed for futureproofing) and a 1.1Gig Pentium III processor; both of my previous servers were AMD, but I couldn't find a cheap black 1U AMD server to fit the bill. The server was hosted in London, after power cuts trashed my previous two machines hosted under the desk at work (note to self: UPSs only last a few minutes. Proper hosting facilities have generators and stuff).

NetWare server

This baby was my NetWare 3 server. It appears to be a black custom built rackmountable PC built around an IBM 286, with some interesting-looking Cisco cards in it.

Okay, so it didn't get used much, in fact as IBM couldn't supply me with any info on it (I needed a product ID, which seeing as it is very much not a current product would be a bit tricky) it hasn't been switched on since before January 1st 2000 - I'd installed some Y2K patches but didn't know if it would go arse-over.

I bought it as a "second hand network hub" from some dodgy local computer store, but never got it working as a hub; I did spend some time learning about NetWare, installing Y2K and TCP/IP upgrades and the like, but with a 286 and a 100MB hard drive (split 90MB NW, 10MB DOS) it wasn't even worth trying to get something more standard running on it. It was fun for a while though, after which it made a rather interesting coffee table/computer stand.