Diary of a startup - Weeks 13 and 14: hardware in the house!
By davidleetodd on Apr 08, 2007
The first round of hardware has arrived, a major milestone. "Monty," the CIO, has his crew working on setting them up. There are four major pieces of equipment: two Hewlett-Packard DL360 servers, each with two Xeon quad-core processors, an HP storage server, and an HP tape library that holds 24 tapes. They're rackable, with a 1U form factor on the servers, and 2U on the tape library. I've never seen a tape library up close, and I'd like to see this one. It's got a magazine on either side, two tapes high, and and a little robot that scoots up and down between them to change tapes.
Thw whole setup fits neatly on a 3/4-sized wheeled rack, which will make it easy to move to their co-located data center once it's configured. They will be running Red Hat, not HP-UX. As I noted earlier, each major application will run in its own virtual machine. The original idea was to use VMware to accomplish this, but now that the crew has had time to play around with Red Hat, they think they might just go with Xen. Score another one for open source!
I find some irony in the contrast between the orderly way in which Monty goes about setting up this infrastructure, and the chaotic state of the market that the startup will be entering. They will be starting to make sub-prime loans in the middle of the vast crisis in subprime lending, where major lenders are going bankrupt right and left. They're hoping that the massive failures of their competitors will open up a wide niche that they can exploit, but like any startup, it's a gamble. At least they can take heart that one element of risk will be removed by their carefully-considered IT setup.
Update: I mistakenly referred to the DL 360's processors as being from AMD when I first posted this entry. Thanks to a comment from alert reader zdzichu, I have corrected the post. The DL 360 uses Intel Xeon processors.