There are two big problems with the “hardware choice does not matter much” kind of reasoning. The first is that the TCA is still a big part of the total TCO. For example this study estimates that the price of buying the server is still about 40-50% of the TCO, while maintenance comprises a bit more than 10% and operation costs take about 40% of TCO pie. Thus we can’t help but be wary when a vendor claims that a high price is okay, because the maintenance on his product is so much lower than the competition.Secondly, certain hardware choices have an enormous impact on the rest of the TCO picture. One example is hot-spare and hot-swappable RAID arrays which on average significantly reduce the time that a server is unreachable. This will also become clearer as we dig deeper into the different hardware features of modern servers and the choices you will have to make.
Studies done by IBM say that about 50% of the hardware failures are related to hard disk problems and 25% are due to a power supply failure. Fans with 8% are a distant third, so it is clear you need power supplies and hard disks of high reliability, the R of RAS.
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