Build To Order Servers… buy from these people

We got a donation to MHVLUG a year ago, which was a stack of 2U PIII servers that were being decommissioned from a company that one of our members worked at. We sold about 1/2 of them (at really nominal price) to get machines into eager members hands, and raise a little cash for MHVLUG events (like equipment for install fests). The servers had one flaw though, the power supplies liked to commit suicide if you unplugged them. You know this has happened if you plug the box in, and just hear a clicking sound from the power supply, and the machine won’t power on. 😦 The power supplies are an odd proprietary connector (though it breaks out to standard connectors after that) so direct replacement didn’t seem like an option. We swapped out PSU for those LUG members that got ones that broke, until we ran out. At which point everyone was on their own.

This hits home a bit, because I’ve got 2 of these boxes. 1 is serenity, which runs my wiki, but more importantly, my wedding site. That machine is fine. However, my xen test box did the suicide dive this weekend. Ominously, we are out of power supplies, and the site that we’ve got the wedding info on no longer has anything I could steal a supply from. This is not a good place to be in.

So over the weekend I began searching for power supplies again. While we’ll never find the crazy card interface that the current PSUs have, a little further research showed that any long 2U supply should fit in the case. After much time with google I came across Build to Order Servers. It appears that they had a 2U supply that would fit in the box, output 300W (the current one is 275W), and only cost $68. So between me, and the rest of, we ordered 4 of those units. That was Sunday.

Monday rolls around, and I get an email from the Vendor (and, as I found out later, a phone call at home). They are out of the supply I ordered, and won’t get more until July 17th. He does ask me where I’m going to be running the systems, because if it is in the US (where the power is reasonably conditioned), they’ve got an equivalent model which is $10 cheaper. He also asks about what my server board pins are, because the power supply is 20 + 4 pins, and most people order a 20 -> 24 pin converter with them. I respond back to him with output of dmidecode from my server board, plus the fact that it looks like I’ve actually got 24 + 6 pins. A couple hours later he sends me an image of a similar mother board (“is this what yours looks like?”), offering to custom mod the power supply pin outs for 24 + 6 for a small fee, and still being able to ship by Thursday if I’m ok with all of this.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is service. We’re talking about a total sum of about $250 worth of equipment here, and the folks at Build to Order Servers spent a lot of time making sure that I actually got equipment that is exactly what I needed. It’s rare that you see that now adays with all the crazy big box stores, so I am always astounded when someone really does give that much care for their customers.

Anyway, if you are in the market for anything Build to Order Servers has to offer, you should consider them. They went the extra mile for me on a small order, so I can’t imagine they’d do any different for you.

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