As a lot of people know at this point, Amazon.com has terminated all contracts with affiliates in California. That decision, in response to the new California law will have a negative impact on this site. For those wondering, on 28 June 2011, the state’s legislature incorporated an online sales tax as part of the passed budget. The next day, 29 June 2011, California’s Governor Jerry Brown signed the relevant bill into law, taking effect immediately.
Keeping a server online as much as possible means that one needs to manage several things. Good examples include maintaining network connectivity, ensuring all server components are functioning correctly and maintaining power to a server. In facilities such as Tier 1 data centers, keeping network connectivity and power feeds operating are both primary concerns. In the SMB and home server settings, power is likely to be more of an issue than in a reliable datacenter, but there are a few tricks that one can use to keep the server powered on as much as possible, beyond simply utilizing a UPS unit and a backup generator.
One question I am often asked is what do I think about port multipliers. The short story here is that I think they can be valuable and I can see that they have a place in the market. The Silicon Image SiI3124 controller is an inexpensive SATA II controller that runs natively on a PCI-X bus. One of the biggest draws to the Silicon Image port-multiplier enabled ecosystems is cost. For about $100 one can purchase a controller and a port multiplier (based on the SiI3726 for example) and provide eight ports of connectivity. This low-cost architecture has been something that Silicon Image has been building for years.
Today we are looking at the Supermicro X9SCM-F which is going to be a very popular mATX server motherboard. One of the most popular mATX server motherboards reviewed on this site was the Supermicro X8SIL-F. It provided a small form-factor, relatively inexpensive platform with features one would want from a low-cost server motherboard. With the new Sandy Bridge Xeon’s Supermicro has an updated platform, the Supermicro X9SCM-F, that takes advantage of the new PCIe lanes from the Intel C204 chipset to provide an interesting alternative to the previous generation X8SIL-F.