|LOL - Wanderer, just goes to show, different folks get different results.|
I've had nothing but good experiences with IBM support. Of course, I haven't dealt with them in over 2 years now and when I last did, they were in the process of transferring all the PC support to some Chinese company (if I remember correctly). Perhap's they've done the same with server support, I don't know.
All I know is, where I work now, we use nothing but custom built 1U rack mounts with dual - dual core Xeon CPU's and I love them. Because we're such good clients, the company that provides the hardware also provides spare equipment and most repairs are done in-house. To be honest, if it were me and I had the $$$, I'd go with custom built as my opinion of any brand name (including IBM) is pretty darn low comparatively speaking.
Love HP switches and servers.
You want to try some nice switches........check the Nortel Baystack 55x0 series. The 5520's are PoE capable while the 5510's are not. Otherwise, they're basically identical switches. After having worked with more Cisco switches than I care to recall, 3com, and various other brands, I've come to really like Baystacks.
[don't let anyone sell you raid5 with 3 disks with both OS and data - difficult upgrade path if you need more disk space]
Highly recommend mirror the OS and raid the data with the array containing a hot spare as failover to either array. Do NOT get SATA! It can not sustain heavy loads like scsi can.
I couldn't agree more on both counts! Solid advice.
Having never used Backup Exec I have no opinion, but before purchasing I highly recommend you compare several packages.....what you get for what cost. Like I said, I've used Brightstor ARCserve and found it reliable and very easy to use and all the modules Wanderer mentioned are available for it.