Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Intel Qualified Server Board Program - System Builder Tips

A new category has appeared on the Intel Server and Workstation Boards - All Boards called the Intel Qualified Server Board Program with a couple of dedicated products.

And what do we find in that product category? The above links connect with an page dedicated to the individual product listed.

While Intel has maintained compatibility lists for all manner of peripheral system components such as memory, chassis, and storage, this is a first that we have seen where an alternative server motherboard manufacturer has their products featured on Intel's site.

From Intel's "Intel Qualified Server Board Program" site:
The Intel® Qualified Server Board program is a joint pilot program between Intel and certain original design manufacturers (ODM) designed to enhance your opportunity to offer competitive server and workstation solutions through:
  • Access to board, chassis and system products with feature-sets optimized for specific segments which have been tested by the ODM to meet certain minimum requirements specified by Intel.
  • Confidence that such qualified products will meet industry required system-level thermal requirements.
  • Offering solutions that have been tested by the ODM to ensure compliance with market-leading operating systems (including certification of Microsoft* and RedHat* operating systems).
  • Reduced development costs by being able to leverage regulatory testing and certifications.
  • Reduced costs by being able to select memory, adaptors and peripherals from a list published by the ODM as being compatible components.
All products under the Intel Qualified Server Board program are third party products sold by ODMs. Sales, technical support and warranty will be provided by the ODM. Product and features are subject to change; contact the ODM for more information.
It is neat to see that Tyan is the first manufacturer to make the list. They have been around for a very long time and we have seen some very long life dedicated servers running on Tyan boards. In fact, many of those dedicated Tyan based boxes are still around.

It is good to see a program like this come online. It means that as manufacturers get their products on this list, the more standardized those products are. This in turn means we can be a lot more confident purchasing those products for our client's server needs.

One of the greatest system building griefs was getting server components to play nice with each other. In the past, they were notoriously picky about where they were located. That is why we dove right into the Intel Partner Program and stuck with Intel server products and used products on their compatibility list.

This step alone has saved us huge amounts of grief, time, and money.

Intel has already built the test mules for us. So, why do it all over again at a great cost in time and products to us? A client's SBS or other dedicated server is NOT a test mule for us to put into production. Period.

There is still a caveat to keep in mind, even with this program: When we venture onto Tyan's compatibility lists, or any other manufacturer's compatibility lists, we may find we are again at odds with another component that we may need to use in a given configuration.

As always: Buyer Beware.

We, the I.T. Professionals, are responsible for quoting a system that we know works beforehand.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

*All Mac on SBS posts are posted on our in-house iMac via the Safari Web browser.

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