Be aware that this post will remain the reference point and is subject to updates.
After reviewing what’s involved with RAID on servers and so forth under Linux, it turns out we could spend less on a high-end workstation and get something actually easier to run. The durability rating is just about the same on both types of machine. So I finally settled on a Dell Precision T3400 that came with the mouse and keyboard. It does have some zip, but I was looking more at flexibility than anything else. It’s listed as fully compatible for Linux. This thing is considered suitable for CAD and could push two monitors, but that’s overkill for our needs. It comes with a single hard drive, and it won’t be hard to get another later on and run a fairly simple software-based backup mechanism that creates an on-going “ghost” copy of the original.
I made it a point to avoid anything that had an OS already installed; there were dozens based on this model. This thing was the most for the money in that product line, and certainly cheap enough. The blurb offers some details:
Dell Precision T3400 2x Intel Quad Core 2.40GHz, 1TB Harddrive, 8GB RAM
I found a matching Dell 20″ monitor with some of the balance of the account.
Both items should arrive around 18 January. All we need now is a battery backup unit and those are easy enough to find locally. The PayPal balance is enough to get the smallest of decent quality, but if you want to help us get a larger unit, you can still contribute toward this project.
And I received another $100 toward the battery backup. You people are soooooo generous. I can’t thank you enough.
More than the money, I am grateful that you folks were praying. I felt the strong hand of the Lord guiding me through this process and that’s something you just cannot buy.
Update 1: 12 January afternoon — notified that both items have shipped. The monitor comes UPS and the server itself via FedEx. Both notices say NLT 19 January.
Update 2: 14 January noonish — the monitor arrived via UPS. No tracking was offered by the vendor, but I guessed the day correctly, just not the hour. Ordered the battery back-up but the vendor’s website malfunctioned and turned my in-store pickup into shipping to my home in three days or so with no means to fixing it. Office Depot is no longer on my list of good guys.
Update 3: 14 January — FedEx claims the computer was delivered, but I never got it. Hopefully it’s just a case of the driver too lazy to do his job and maybe he dropped it at the office of the apartment complex. Another company I never liked much and now even less. At least UPS could read the address and dropped the monitor at my door and hit the doorbell. And I gave up a nice long ride on the best riding day so far this month for a passel of frustrations (trouble with my netbook, too).
God bless you all.