The Zenith Z-Server range.
The Z-Server range was probably the first proper Server range of equipment I got my hands on.
I remember Z-Server EX, Z-Server LT, Z-Server LX, and Z-Server WG. These all took Pentium class CPU’s.
The servers were physically quite massive and robust, and covered in an white plastic which was common to the Zenith PC range at the time.
The servers used a 16-bit EISA BUS, and supported the full length EISA expansion cards. Most of the Servers I got to play with came fitted with an NE3200 Server class Network Interface card, and featured an Embedded Adaptec AIC-7×00 series SCSI and RAID Controller.
They also had an embedded Cirrus Logic SVGA Controller with 512k of Video RAM as standard, capable of 1024×768 in 256 colours, and were provided with Zenith’s standard keyboard at the time.
The servers themselves had the PSU at the top (rear), and a series of 5.25″ drive cages at the front. In the servers I worked on, I’d usually have to install a 4mm DAT tape drive, or 5.25″ QIC (Quarter Inch Cartridge) 525Mb drive which would connect to the internal SCSI Controller. If a CD drive was required, this also needed to be SCSI as the server did not feature any IDE drive headers at all.
Some models would have an array of 3.5″ internal drive bays at the bottom of the case, three or four columns of three drives as I recall, meaning the server could take an impressive array of SCSI drives in it’s RAID array. Each column of drives was connected to a channel on one of the RAID controller headers. Others would have a smaller number of 3.5″ drive bays below the 5.25″ drive bay and at the bottom of the case.
Memory was installed on a Daughter-board which was roughly 2/3 of the way up the motherboard, and which was held in place with a metal case fixing running horizontally. The Daughter board would take up to 8 SIMMS which could go up to 32Mb each. A second Daughter-board further up would house the CPU(s).
Typically I’d be required to install Novell Netware 3.12, or SCO UNIX 3.2v4.2 at the time.
I do remember ZDS changing the model of SCSI RAID controller from AIC-7770 to AIC-7870 at some point which threw me the first time I tried to install SCO on the new controller, as I had to “link=alad” instead of “link=arad” at boot time to force the kernel to include the drivers for the RAID controller as it compiled.
Often I’d have to fit the Multi-port Serial Adapters from Chase Research, the AT-8 and AT-16 cards, and later the modular IOPRO cards, in order to support Serial Terminals and Printers, and on occasion some of our Telxon RF Kit.