Server Reviews
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 Josh Linden

Dell PowerEdge VRTX Refresh (13G)

The Dell PowerEdge VRTX is Dell's answer to the needs of ROBO and small offices that can benefit from the convergence of compute, networking and storage within a tower chassis with a footprint barely larger than a standard PC. Like its 12G-based predecessor, the 13G-enabled VRTX supports up to four server nodes (blades) with options for 25x 2.5-inch drive bays or 12x 3.5-inch bays. Some of the most significant advances for the VRTX platform are offered via the new 13G M630 server node which features increased performance, storage capacity, and management functionality over its 12G M620 predecessor.

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by StorageReview Enterprise Lab

Dell PowerEdge FX2 Review

The Dell PowerEdge FX2 Architecture represents a significant evolution of Dell’s converged infrastructure strategy by offering the PowerEdge FX blade-based architecture in the form of a 2U rackmounted modular compute and storage platform. The PowerEdge FX2 is planned for general availability in December, and in the meantime StorageReview has been working with a review unit in our Enterprise Test Lab in order to develop an analysis of a platform that has the potential to change the way we approach the PowerEdge family and Dell’s converged infrastructure portfolio.

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by Kevin OBrien

Selecting the Best DRAM Configuration for SQL Server 2012

Building the ideal Microsoft SQL Server 2012 production server can be a daunting task, with variables such as storage, RAM, or processor selection stumping even seasoned IT administrators. We last posted an analysis around selecting the best Intel Xeon E5-2600 v2 CPU for running SQL Server 2012 in non-virtualized environments. Aside from CPU, RAM is another key component when considering performance needs of SQL running on iron. For this testing we used the same testbed as the Intel processor study, this time focusing on stepping Micron PC3-12800 RAM with the best-performing CPU and storage to gauge its performance impact. 

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by Brian Beeler

Selecting the Best Intel Xeon E5-2600 v2 CPU for SQL Server 2012

Flash storage often gets the headline when it comes to discussing database performance. However CPUs and RAM are vital components in determining how many transactions SQL Server can handle, and more importantly, how quickly it can deliver them. For those running SQL 2012 on iron (non-virtualized) as many are, architecting the system can be a delicate balance between capacity, performance and cost considerations. In this review we evaluate four Intel Xeon Ivy Bridge v2 processors and their effect on SQL TPC-C workloads in a two processor system.

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by Lyle Smith

Supermicro SuperServer 1027R-WC1NRT (NVMe) Review

The Supermicro SuperServer 1027R-WC1NRT is a high-performance, enterprise-class server with storage emphasis that supports SAS3 12Gb/s and NVMe interfaces. The chassis houses 10 hot-swappable 2.5" drive bays in a slim, 1U rackmount form factor that is ideal for dense computing environments. The 1027R-WC1NRT is made up of two main subsystems: the SC116AC2-R700WB 1U chassis and the X9DRW-CTF31 dual processor serverboard. In addition, the SuperServer is built around the X9DRWCF31/CTF31, a dual processor serverboard based on the Intel C602J chipset, which is designed to provide the performance needed for intense server workloads.

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by StorageReview Enterprise Lab

HP ProLiant DL360p Gen8 Server Review

The HP DL360p Gen8 is a leading 1U server designed to support the needs of both large data centers that require the compute density that this versatile server offers as well as small and medium sized businesses that appreciate and want to leverage the value and reliability the Gen8 server platform. While the DL360p has been very recently replaced with the DL360 Gen9, those looking for excellent enterprise value without the need for the highest-end computer power will find good value in the HP Gen8 servers as well as its enhanced serviceability and configuration flexibility. 

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by Lyle Smith

HP ProLiant MicroServer Gen8 Review

The HP ProLiant MicroServer Gen8 is an extension of their popular MicroServer platform that's been available since 2010. The MicroServer idea is pretty simple, bring enterprise-style server features to SMBs that either don't want or don't need a larger more traditional rack-based infrastructure. There's also a large market of first time server buyers that operate retail outlets, small medical practices and professional offices that need a server to coordinate their operations, but don't have an IT staff or need to scale up to a more complex infrastructure. The ProLiant MicroServer Gen8 brings these use cases a simple to deploy, cost effective solution that can scale with the business as needs change in a convenient "front-of-office" form factor. 

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by Josh Linden

HP ProLiant DL360 Gen9 Review

With the availability of Intel’s Xeon E5-2600 v3 family of processors, a variety of server vendors are launching compute platforms that take advantage of the performance increases of the new Xeon architecture. The DL360 Gen9 is the new mainstream 1U compute platform in the HP ProLiant family, and in addition to featuring new E5-2600 v3 processors and DD4 memory, the DL360 Gen9 reflects several progressive advancements in HP’s server technology portfolio and the company’s overall vision for converged data centers.

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by StorageReview Enterprise Lab

Dell PowerEdge 13G R730xd Review

Today Dell announced the specifications and availability information for its new 13th Generation PowerEdge R730 and R730xd servers which feature the new Intel Haswell Xeon E5-2600 v3 processor family (which was also announced today). The R730xd is a 2U storage server solution built on Intel’s Grantly platform, which consists of Intel Xeon Haswell processors and a Wellsburg C610 chipset with DDR4 memory. These processors incorporate embedded PCIe lanes for improved I/O performance. Certain E5-2600 series processors can also perform DDR4 operations at a data rate of 2,133MT/s, and the R730xd supports three DIMMs per channel at 1,866MT/s with these processors. The R730xd also boasts impressive storage-centric configurations; our review model has a unique combination of 1.8" SSD bays, 3.5" hard drive bays and 2.5" flexible drive bays in the rear of the chassis.

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by StorageReview Enterprise Lab

Dell PowerEdge R920 Review

Dell has been on the forefront of creating servers that combine innovative features to create industry-leading products. Such was the case with the PowerEdge R720, the first mainstream server to include 2.5" PCIe SSDs. This time we take a look at the PowerEdge R920, a server duty-built to drive mission critical applications like databases, large virtual infrastructures and other intensive workloads. To prepare the R920 for such a task, Dell has engineered the 4U server with four Intel Xeon processor E7 v2 with up to 15 cores each and 96 DIMM slots to support up to 6TB of RAM. Storage capabilities are highlighted by 24 2.5" drive bays that may be configured in a variety of different ways including 12Gbps SAS drives and up to eight Samsung XS1715 NVMe Express Flash SSDs, for access to some of the fastest flash available. The system also offers Up to 10 PCIe Gen3/Gen2 slots to give enterprises a wide variety of options when it comes to interconnect or storage expansion via PCIe slots. In aggregate, the R920 is one of the beefiest servers available in the market with the flexibility to handle nearly any workload and configuration. 

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