Have a friend that swears by them, but ... he's in the Linux camp, so tends to
have a quasi-inside track ...

What are ppls opinions on them as far as FreeBSD is concerned?

Also, interested in what sort of specs ppl are running ... I'm interested in
going with an 8xSAS drive system, dual-dual-core, figuring 10 or 16G of RAM ...
redundant power and the Dell Remote Access Card ...

My personal experience with Dell is that it's ok until you hit a
problem. Then it's hell. So bad, in fact, that we don't purchase them
anymore and have gone with IBM and HP systems for our FreeBSD, RedHat
and Windows machines.

IMHO, the problem with Dell is not their hardware, but their support
(or lack of it).

If you plan on running your Business on Dell, be prepared for
Incredibly bad and horrible support. Be it consumer product support or
Enterprise 24/7/365 type support.

Dell "support" is a total waste of money and time, but a superb source
of frustration. (so if you're looking to get frustrated, there's your
chance :) I even had to way two complete days (!) to resolve a
24/7/365 type support call ! Pathetic, really.

Not to say that the hardware is good, far from that. Place equivalent
IBM, Dell, HP and Sun machines next to one another and you quickly see
that Dell uses sub-quality parts. There is less precise documentation
printed directly on the machine (a technique IBM and Sun have
mastered). You often need two or three different screwdrivers to take
the various pieces apart. While with the other Tier-1 vendors, most
pieces don't even require any tool at all.

Finally, the Documentation that is shipped with the Dell machines is
of dubious quality compared with the other top vendors.

So, to sum up, I strongly recommend going with either IBM or HP for
FreeBSD systems. With them, you get quality hardware and real support.
Of course it might be a bit more expensive. But it's worth it. Well,
you get what you pay for don't you?

YMMV of course.


David Robillard
UNIX systems administrator & Oracle DBA
CISSP, RHCE & Sun Certified Security Administrator
Montreal: +1 514 966 0122
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