At STH we are constantly testing the newest gear. We do our own editorial reviews but also host systems for other hardware review sites, industry analysts, paid benchmarking firms, and customer demos/ proof of concepts. As a result, we use a large amount of hardware. Since we have the privelage of hosting in multiple data centers, we also build our own infrastructure. Based on our experience with hardware and software, we have a number of buyer’s guides focused on building reliable and highly cost-effective architectures that can be leveraged in SOHO and SMB environments.
FreeNAS Buyer’s Guides
FreeNAS is an extremely popular ZFS storage platform based on FreeBSD. While FreeNAS is a free platform, it is supported by iXsystems a for-profit company who sells enterprise storage arrays based largely on FreeNAS. Here are some of the guides we have available with more coming:
- Top FreeNAS Hardware Components Guide
pfSense Buyer’s Guides
pfSense is the gold standard for open source network appliances. The FreeBSD based system has a web GUI for management of firewall rules, routing, VPN services, proxies and other network services. At STH, we use pfSense daily and specifically test hardware with the OS. Here are our buyer’s guides for pfSense:
- Top Hardware Components for pfSense Appliances
Napp-it and OmniOS ZFS Storage Appliance Buyer’s Guides
Napp-it is a popular web graphical interface for the administration of ZFS storage appliances. The software runs atop OpenSolaris derived OSes. A popular OS choice to pair with napp-it is OmniOS so we have a number of guides focused on that solution.
- Top Hardware Components for Napp-it and OmniOS ZFS Storage Appliances
Moving to Colocation Buyer’s Guides
At STH, we went through the process of moving our web hosting infrastructure from shared hosting, to a VPS provider, then to the AWS cloud. We soon found performance constraints and cost savings were substantial enough that we could move to a colocation environment and save (a lot) of money.
Falling From the Sky Series – The story of how STH saved big by leaving AWS (2013)
- Falling From the Sky Part 1 – Why STH is Leaving the Cloud
- Falling From the Sky Part 2 – Requirements Driving Cloud Departure
- Falling From the Sky Part 3 – Evaluating Amazon EC2, VPS, Dedicated and Colocation Options
Going Colo Series (2015)
- Going Colo Series Part 1 – Deciding on colocation
- Going Colo Series Part 2 – Picking a colocation site
- Going Colo Series Part 3 – Colocation Two Years Later – Learning from experience
Ubuntu Server Buyer’s Guides
Proxmox Server Buyer’s Guides
Home Lab Networking Buyer’s Guides
SSD Buyers Guides
Many STH readers are building all-flash storage arrays. As a result, we have a few guides to getting great deals on enterprise SSDs for the data center or lab:
- Used enterprise SSDs: Dissecting our production SSD population
- Buyer’s Guide to getting a used datacenter SSD inexpensively
We do plan to expand our range of Buyer’s Guides in the future. If you have ideas, please submit them in the STH Suggestions forum.