Over the years I’ve heard many reasons why businesses purchase brand-name hardware. Most common one has always been about accountability. Organizations have support agreements with third-party vendors to come in and replace hardware when it fails with pre-defined SLAs. However, it is often cheaper to keep spare parts, buy white box servers and use your capable IT team to replace components on demand. I provide all my customers with facts; let’s look at some numbers (USD):
Typical Hyper-converged NVME server build:
• 512GB DDR4-2666 2RX4 ECC RDIMM
• 11.520TB NVME Storage, Samsung PM963 960GB
• 2x Intel S3520 150GB, SATA 6Gb/s, 3D MLC 2.5" for OS
• 2-port 10GbE Standard LP Adapter with RJ45 connectors
• 2x 25GbE SFP28
Dell R930 $67,500
Eclipse Network $24,500
Price difference $43,000
A single white box server saves up to $43,000 compared to the Dell server with the same configuration. That is a big enough difference to hire an in-house full-time IT person. Imagine if you need five servers, without any bulk discounts it works out to a savings of $215,000!
Businesses have a realistic concern about white box hardware’s reliability. It is the same hardware. It doesn’t matter if you buy from Lenovo, Dell, HP or build it yourself. With a white box solution you will often get the most recent hardware while named-vendors are still scrambling to clear their last year’s inventory. If you choose to get the latest generation of hardware from named-vendors, you will have to pay significantly more. If reliability is your biggest concern then consider the difference in cost. Two white box servers like the one above are still less expensive than the single Dell build. It is possible to have more storage, more computing power, more RAM, have warranty and still save up to $18,500. Now that is reliability with affordable redundancy.
Don’t take my word for it; take a look at Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft. These massive companies have started to use white box solutions to save millions of dollars and add massive redundancies at a fraction of the cost of a traditional named-vendor.
Andy Patrizio. (09/25/2017). Your next servers might be a no-name brand.