Tips from Charlie & Co

Tips for Expediting the Purchase Request

  • If the item is sole sourced (i.e. can only get from one vendor), you're set.
  • If not, try to help purchasing by doing the work for them. I.e., find 3 competing quotes and submit the best one. If you don't, they'll apparently try to find 3 themselves, but it can take a while.

Other potential sources for SuperMicro hardware

  • Silicon Mechanics ( - Seattle area, used extensively by CSL/Gates
  • Mazda Technologies (packs X58 chipset-based, core i7s in 1U machines)
  • Penguin Computing (Fremont, CA. Usually more expensive?)


  • We will have three 250v plugs (20A each - L6-20R is the socket)
    • Should probably get 4 PDUs for 20kW total. Can likely scrounge a fourth socket if we need it.
  • PDUs commonly come with 24 plugs, so we'll likely want two, one for each 220v source.
  • Twin servers share a power supply, so we cut down on the number of plugs that way.
    • Quad servers apparently share 2 power supplies, but need only one to run (i.e. redundant power by default).
  • PDUs run ~$750 for 24 plugs
  • Was some concern that the Infiniband and 10GigE switches could be very power hungry
    • Our Mellanox 36-port switches are IS5024 (XXX verify):  ?? watts
    • Arista 24-port switch (7124S): 210W "typical power draw"


  • 48-port gigabit linking all nodes.
  • Recommended staying away from cheapo switches (NetGear, DLink, etc).
    • Good experiences with HP switches (used throughout Gates). Lifetime warranty. ~$1,500.
  • Switch for IPMI needs only be 10/100. Not as critical.
    • Get something cheap, or get an old decommissioned one for free from Charlie.


  • Be sure whatever we get has standard dimensions (i.e. can fit through a doorway).
  • Should be no problem taking a full rack in the elevator.


  • Be sure whoever delivers has a lift on their truck, as we do not have a loading dock!