One of the servers co-located at Online Bulgaria that I used to take care of was a relatively old IBM @Server xSeries 360 (machine type 8686-1RX, specification). Unfortunately after a series of hardware issues it completely crashed. I informed the owner of the server and what he told me was: “Oh, I expected that. Just give it away to the hosting company!”. My reaction was something like: “What?! Are you nuts?! It’s a computer – a human being! And you are just going to give it away?! No way!”. So I took it and brought it to our office for inspection. It was not an easy task as it weights about 32 kg but I somehow did it.
There are some things that really impressed me in that machine. Yeah, maybe all that stuff is normal for a server but I’m really not into this business so… In the first place it was the configuration itself – four Xeon processors, three hot-swap hard drives, three hot-swap power supplies, six hot-swap fans, individual VRMs for each processor and the memory board… and the best one – IBM Remote Supervisor Adapter. This fabulous device is like a mini-computer plugged in a special slot on the board and it integrates completely with the server – gives you a web- or telnet-based interface for complete machine maintenance (accessing the keyboard and the display, (re)booting, upgrading firmwares, various sensor information, watchdogs, e-mail notifications…). VNC/telnet access the physical console is a “dream come true”!
Unfortunately this incredible seems out of support – a device with this machine type and serial number does not exist in IBM’s database (weird, huh?). And it seems the motherboard is blown out – Icaci and I spent almost a whole afternoon in disassembling various parts and just refuses to boot – no beeps, no LEDs blinking. Completely dead! :( I was told IBM’s original motherboard for such machines cost at least $1’000 which is a price I would not afford even for this peace of hardware. I found cheap machines of this type in the Internet but buying one would cost me incredible transportation fees (remember the 32 kg weight? :)).
So any idea on where a spare motherboard could be found for a reasonable price? I’m giving away a few beers for useful information on that… :)