Is there a way to install ANY OS on Dell Poweredge Servers -especially the SC1420?

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Is there a way to install ANY OS on Dell Poweredge Servers -especially the SC1420?

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I am/was  considering buying an old Dell SC1420 Poweredge Tower Server off of Ebay(my first server),but after doing some Internet searching last night,am questioning my logic,in that(these were old posts,granted,c. 2004-2005+) some were trying to install FreeBSD and Linux,only to find that the SC1420's BIOS and the Setup CD,was limiting them to Windows Server 2003 and Red Hat Enterprise Linix 3.0.I thought only Microsoft 'piogeon-holed' people hardware wise?

Is there a way to install other OSes on Dell Servers other the 'listed OSes?'

I can't afford the latest Dell Server right now,so this 'souped-up Sc1420 would be just the ticket,but not if I can only install Windows 2003 Server,which is on it's way out anyway,and yet,a search for Sc430 and the 1600SC shows people running Linux on them,so what's the story?

Please point me in the right direction,here.

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  • The setup CD can only be so large (it is large enough already), so it can't provide installation assistance for every known OS.  Dell, resource-wise, also cannot afford to officially support all known OS's - it chooses the OS's its customers are most likely to need and supports them (in hindsight, we are talking about a different world back then too with different needs/wants :)).  

    It's not that the BIOS is blocking it specifically ... those OS's may simply not be compatible with the hardware.  The SC line of servers are very low-end and are often made with devices that are/were not as widely used (like Broadcom chipsets, etc.), making installation of ANY unsupported OS and/or hardware difficult (even Windows).  Outside of these OS's that Dell supports for this server (Server 2003, RHEL, and 'Linux' for the SC1420), just like any other computer, finding drivers, troubleshooting issues, and getting it to work becomes the burden of the user - but people do it all the time.  If I were you, I'd skip the SC servers and get yourself a good solid 2800 (roughly the same generation - SCSI) or a slightly newer model, like a 1900 or 2900 (SAS/SATA - supports Server 2000-2008 R2, Suse, RHEL, 'Linux', Solaris, ESXi).  Keep in mind that a "souped up" SC1420 (if you can even call it that ... max 8GB RAM, poor RAID options, etc.) will still not be very impressive.  

    How much are you planning to spend on this?

  • Thankyou for clearing the issue up.

    I'll have to consider all my options.

    The Dell Powerdge Sc1420 I saw has: 2x Xeon 3.0 Ghz,64 bit,4gb ECC DDR2 400 ram,1 x 36 GB SATA HDD,DVD-Rom Drive..cost is $75 + shipping,about $125,I think.

  • Not a bad price - if that is what you have to spend.  Here are a few other things to watch for:

    $385 ... T105 ($295+FreeShipping+$90Drive)
    Single Quad-Core 2.0 (Opteron 1352 beats the Xeon 3.0 by 3 times)
    4GB RAM running at 667MHz vs 400MHz
    No drives or RAID, but $90 will get you an enterprise-class 500GB drive - or less if you go non-enterprise

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dell-Poweredge-T105-Server-/190692736630?pt=COMP_EN_Servers&hash=item2c662c3e76

    $270 ... 2800 ($200+$30Shipping+$40Drives)
    Dual Xeon 3.0 processors - slightly better than the 1420's (larger L2 cache)
    4GB RAM
    No drives, but $40 will get you two 36GB SCSI drives spinning at 15000RPM
    Built-in hardware RAID with 256MB battery-backed cache for far superior data protection and performance
    Fully supported by all Dell's OpenManage management tools - SC servers and T105 are not - if you are planning to learn the management side of hardware too

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dell-Poweredge-T105-Tower-Server-1x-DC-2-0Ghz-1GB-2x-80GB-Sata-HD-/380435759286?pt=COMP_EN_Servers&hash=item5893bd00b6

    Local classified is a great place to find a deal, if you know a little about the models that are advertised ... my [semi] local news/classifieds site has quite a few servers come and go through it (I've sold dozens of servers there - and bought a few really good deals when they pop up - just depends on the area you are in).

    They do not have any towers in stock right now, but this is usually a pretty cheap place to purchase a basic configuration:
    http://www.savemyserver.com/servlet/Cart?cart_id=5950890

  • More to consider! :-(

    Here's what I am/was referring to:

    Dell Poweredge SC1420-x2 64bit Xeon 3.00Ghz/2/800-4GB ECC DDR2-DVDR-36GB Raptor*

    www.ebay.ca/.../271012149211

    *this seller  sells a lot of Dell and other computer stuff.

    btw: I am in Ontario,Canada,just east of Peterborough -so while there's some good Ebay stuff stateside,the shipping rate can be costly.