Server reviews profile a wide range of servers, from standard 1U and 2U offerings from the likes of Dell, HP, Lenovo and others, to customized solutions being proposed for the Open Compute Project. When reviewing compute servers we evaluate the hardware with an eye toward storage specific needs like PCIe slot configuration, thermals and power consumption. When possible we also review servers in clusters to create real world usage scenarios for storage performance testing.
by StorageReview Enterprise Lab

Dell PowerEdge VRTX Review

The Dell PowerEdge VRTX features a tower form factor and delivers primary storage via as many as 25 SFF or 12 LFF drives and implements four server nodes with two SFF drives each. The server nodes are Dell PowerEdge M620 or M520s, and with either option, the VRTX can deliver up to 64 physical processing cores (128 logical cores). The M620 maxes out with the Intel E5-2680 which is clocked at 2.7GHz, while the top-end for the M520 is the Intel E5-2470 at 2.3GHz. The M620s also provide 24 DIMM slots supporting up to 32GB of RAM each for a maximum capacity of 3072GB of RAM across the four server nodes; the M520 has 12 DIMM slots that also support 32GB each. As for design, at 5U the VRTX is rackable, but primarily is tailored for organizations that require robust performance from a unified system to simplify management and reduce hardware footprint and IT expenses. The VRTX is ideal for SMBs and remote/branch offices avoiding allocating the space/budget for a traditional server rack that also enjoy the consolidation of their IT equipment into a single chassis.

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by Bill Valle

HP 3PAR StoreServ 7450 Announced

HP is announcing their new HP 3PAR StoreServ 7450 which delivers over 550,000 IOPS and has extremely low latency with a 0.7ms response time, and it doesn’t require a separate storage architecture. The new HP 3PAR StoreServ 7450 Storage enables customers to improve application response time with flash specific software optimizations such as adaptive read and write optimization and autonomic cache offload which dynamically adjust the granularity of cache-to-flash operations based on demand. Also, the system sustains high performance with multi-tenant I/O processing and higher-performance mesh-active clustered controllers which ensure that all application volumes are active on all disks and controllers at the same time. The system also manages flash efficiently with the new media wear gauge, it extends media lifespan with load-balancing. On top of all of this, it lowers costs by reducing capacity requirements by 50%+.

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by Josh Shaman

Dell Compellent, FluidFS, and Hadoop Updates Announced

Dell is announcing new storage solutions and expanded analytics for greater performance and lower expenses. Beginning with Dell Compellent solutions, Dell has made substantial updates to their storage portfolio aimed at performance-hungry applications. Dell is also implementing their Compellent Storage Center 6.4 array software which has been optimized for data-intensive workloads. The new Dell Compellent Flash Optimized Solution offers the first storage solution in its class with intelligent data placement across multiple types of flash technologies or in combination with traditional drives. Dell is also now offering the super-dense Compellent SC280 5U shelf that provides up to 336TB of storage. The 5U footprint significantly reduces data center space, power and cooling requirements for the number of drives stored inside versus the same capacity found in multiple 2U shelves.

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by Josh Shaman

Dell Announces Expansion of Converged Infrastructure

Dell is announcing expansion and differentiation in its converged infrastructure (CI) line to meet the applications of a wide-range of workplace requirements in medical, science, finance and other sectors. Dell's CIs can be tailored for specific workloads and applications to enhance productivity and performance while reducing expenses. This announcement focuses on a few of Dell's latest offerings including Dell Active Infrastructure for HPC Life Sciences, Dell Active Infrastructure 1.1 and Dell Modular Data Center, while we are also covering the PowerEdge VRTX. All of these products from Dell features more robust performance, greater management and cost-savings.

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by Brian Beeler

Dell PowerEdge VRTX Shared Infrastructure Announced

Dell is introducing their PowerEdge VRTX which is a Private Cloud in a Box shared solution that comes in a tower form factor and is specifically designed for remote and small offices. The VRTX solution features support for up to four compute nodes, eight addressable PCIe slots, Gigabit Ethernet, support for 12 LFF HDDs or 25 SFF HDDs, and is powered by redundant standard 110V outlets (versus 220-240V with other data center solutions). While many workload and application-centric infrastructures have been designed around the needs of large organizations, Dell is pioneering to meet the needs of growing remote/branch offices (ROBO) by offering robust enterprise-class features and capabilities with the PowerEdge VRTX.

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by Kevin OBrien

Lenovo ThinkServer RD530 Review

The Lenovo ThinkServer RD530, the 1U sibling to the 2U RD630 we previously reviewed, is a mainstream server designed with the specs users need to support database applications as well as virtualized infrastructures. The RD530 offers essentially the same hardware and options as the RD630 in half the space. The ThinkServer RD530 runs on the Intel Xeon E5-2600 processor family and can support up to 320GB of RAM. One major difference is how many drives are supported. The RD530 offers slots for up to four LFF HDDs or eight SFF SATA, SAS or SSDs, while the RD630 could support up to sixteen SFF drives.

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by Kevin OBrien

Advatronix Cirrus 1200 Review

The Advatronix Cirrus 1200 server features the Intel Xeon E3 family in either the E3-1220LV2 or the more powerful E3-1265LV2 iteration that our review model employs. Offered as an equally powerful alternative to more traditional rack servers, the Cirrus 1200 is presented in a relatively small, blue cube-shaped form factor. This gives the Advatronix a unique size that allows users the kind of access they typically expect from a desktop. Accordingly, instead of being tucked away somewhere remotely as rack servers often are, SOHO and creative houses can keep their Cirrus 1200 just about anywhere. This makes it easy both to service and maintain when necessary, which are must-have features when positioned in the SMB and private cloud computing space.

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by Kevin OBrien

Dell PowerEdge R720 12G Review

The Dell PowerEdge R720 12th Generation is a 2-socket, 2U server that features the Intel Xeon E5-2600 processor family and supports up to 768GB of DDR3 memory. Dell offers the R720 in various backplane configurations with up to 16 2.5-inch internal hard drives or 8 3.5-inch drives. A new optional feature though, designed to take the performance compute server market by storm, are 4 hot-plug front-access 2.5-inch Express Flash PCIe SSDs geared for high throughput and incredibly low latency. The PowerEdge R720’s Express Flash connectivity makes it unique among servers of its class and is one of the reasons we have added two R720 units to the lab.

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by Mark Kidd

Dell Announces Pre-Integrated SAP HANA Solutions and Active System Manager 7.0

Dell today announced new workload-optimized solutions for Dell server, storage and networking systems running the SAP HANA real-time analytics database platform. Dell also announced Active System Manager 7.0, the management layer for the company’s converged infrastructure offerings, which integrates recently-acquired Gale Technologies IP to deploy virtualized infrastructure and applications.

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by Kevin OBrien

EchoStreams GridStreams Quad-Node Server Review

The EchoStreams GridStreams is a 2U, high-density quad-node server platform designed for high-performance datacenter and Open Computing Alliance cloud service providers. Each of the four nodes features a half-width motherboard with support for single or dual Intel Xeon 2600 processors and room for one or two PCIe expansion slots depending on motherboard configuration. The GridStreams offers a bank of eight 7mm 2.5" drive bays in the middle, designed to be shared two each across the compute nodes. Configured for data center use, the nodes and drive bays serviceable from the front of the chassis, both are hot swappable. Only fans and power are on the back of the chassis, designed to be swapped out in new datacenter environments in which the rack provides both 12VDC and cooling airflow to the server chassis.

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