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 StorageReview Enterprise Lab

Advantech ASR-3100PP Review

The Advantech ASR-3100PP is part of the larger ASR-3100 series which is comprised of storage-heavy 1U servers. Each server offers up 16 bays of 2.5" storage, in a double-stack format, with 8 bays in the traditional front of the box and another 8 that pop up right behind those near the front of the chassis. The ASR-3100PP variant is unique in that it is NVMe throughout, which offers a tremendous performance profile in just a single rack unit. To ensure customers get to use all of their NVMe storage for important applications, Advantech includes two M.2 2242 SATA slots on the motherboard for OS installation, with optional RAID1 mirror. Additionally the system offers 16 DIMM slots for up to 512GB RAM, dual Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3/v4 CPU slots, two PCIe x8 expansion slots (one FHHL, one HHHL), redundant 1100W redundant power supplies and IPMI support. 

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by Lyle Smith

Lenovo System x3550 M5 Server Review

The Lenovo System x3550 M5 is a 1U dual-socket server designed to handle intensive workloads in software-defined data centers. Featuring Intel's Xeon processor E5-2600 v4 product family and TruDDR4 memory (high-end DDR4 memory that meets “strict” Lenovo requirements), the x3550 M5 is designed for use in small- and medium-business use cases. It fits nicely in areas such as database, virtualization and cloud computing, infrastructure security, systems management, enterprise applications, collaboration/email, streaming media, web, and HPC. Lenovo’s focus is to keep business-critical applications and cloud deployments running safely with the x3550 M5. This cost-effective server is also built with an extensive set of systems-management tools to make deployment and maintenance easy.

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by Adam Armstrong

Lenovo x3650 M5 (8871) ThinkServer Review

The Lenovo x3650 M5 ThinkServer is a 2U dual-socket rack server aimed at the mass market to run a multitude of workloads--either as bare-metal or in a virtualized fashion. The x3650 M5 can leverage Intel Haswell and Broadwell Xeon processors, and up to the 22-core E5-2699 v4 as the top offering. The server also offers plenty of configurability with support for 2.5-inch, 3.5-inch, SAS, SATA, HDD, SSD, and NVMe PCIe drives. The x3650 supports up to 1.5TB of memory, with local storage configurations supporting up to a peak of 215TB in a 2U space (using 28 7.68TB, 2.5" SSDs).

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by StorageReview Enterprise Lab

Dell PowerEdge R630 Review

At this point the Dell PowerEdge R630 isn't exactly new, but there is definitely renewed interest in the 1U server platform as the Dell EMC continues to fold together. The R630 makes for an excellent node in software-defined deployments ranging from vSAN to ScaleIO. While diminutive in rack footprint, don't let the R630 fool you; it's a full-fledged dual-socket PowerEdge supporting the latest Intel Broadwell CPUs, up to 1.5TB RAM and configurations with up to 24 1.8" SSDs. Our configuration is a bit more conventional with a twist, ten 2.5" bays; six supporting SATA/SAS drives as well as four NVMe bays supporting the latest in high-performance storage.

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by StorageReview Enterprise Lab

SuperMicro X11 MicroBlade Solution Review

The SuperMicro MicroBlade family is made up of two key components: a wide selection of chassis configurations, and a multitude of dense-blade options. The MicroBlade enclosure comes in two primary flavors, one being a 3U unit that supports 14 servers and the other a 6U unit that supports 28 servers. Between those sizes there are varying power-configuration options that users can chose from depending on how the ultimate solution will be configured. The servers themselves cover a broad landscape, from single- or dual-processor Intel Xeon systems to ultra-dense blades offering quad Intel-Avoton powered nodes. This allows Supermicro to reach high core per rack counts, upwards of 6272 cores with 784 quad-Avoton nodes in a 42U footprint. The variety of options provides a ton of flexibility for those who need dense compute for high-intensity applications, or for those who want to start small, but know their compute demands will need to scale rapidly. In either case, the MicroBlade enclosures offer a simple deployment model, as well as a chassis management module (CMM) for remote access to blades, power supplies, cooling fans, and networking switches.

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by StorageReview Enterprise Lab

Dell PowerEdge FC830 with Intel Broadwell Review

Earlier this month, Dell added Intel Broadwell support to their line of four-socket PowerEdge servers. We've previously seen what the new CPUs can do for their mainline dual-processor systems; now we turn our attention to the 1U PowerEdge FC830 blade that houses itself within the FX2 chassis. Launched today, the new Intel E5-4669 v4 processors are 2.2GHz and bring 22 cores to bear; 88 cores in a fully populated system. Both the FC830 and the more standard 2U R830 get the E5-4600 v4 family, while the larger R930 can now leverage the E7-8800 v4.

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by StorageReview Enterprise Lab

Crucial DDR4 Memory Review

In any performance-driven server or storage system, RAM plays a critical role when it comes to managing application latency. The premise is simple; the more memory systems have, the faster they'll go. But RAM is also one of the most expensive components, so it's important to balance performance needs with the proper technologies and RAM footprint to meet the need. Like all other things in IT, memory is making leaps and bounds in innovation. The latest version of memory is DDR4 (double data rate fourth-generation), which is finding its way into leading edge servers and storage platforms. In our lab RAM is one of our most valued assets, helping us push the limits in many of our benchmarks. Crucial has supplied the lab with DDR4 that we've been leveraging to push our load systems to their fullest.

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by StorageReview Enterprise Lab

Cisco UCS Mini Review

Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS) is designed with the idea of unifying and simplifying the data center. Customers should be able to deploy servers quickly with less overall infrastructure all with unified management through UCS Manger. The Cisco UCS Mini takes the UCS blade server system, houses it into one 6U chassis, the Cisco UCS 5100, and optimizes it for remote and branch offices. The Mini offers servers, storage, and 10 Gigabit networking in a very dense form factor.

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by StorageReview Enterprise Lab

Dell PowerEdge 13G R730 Server with Intel Broadwell Review

Intel has released more of its “tick” Broadwell 14nm processors. As with all Intel processor releases these new Broadwell CPUs aim to bring better performance to the servers that use them. Dell has refreshed its PowerEdge R730 servers (review of the R730 before the refresh) and has run a series of benchmarks to highlight the difference customers can expect from the updated processors. Dell was nice enough to share their testing and results with us but we are always more inclined to run our own tests to see how well something works, which we have, leveraging the Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 v4 product family. 

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by Lyle Smith

TYAN GT62B-B5539 1U Server System Review

Released in January of this year, the TYAN GT62B-B5539 is the company’s latest addition to their 1-U server system portfolio. TYAN’s new storage solution supports a generous 4x NVMe devices and is touted by the company to deliver the best performance per watt on today’s storage market. The server system also features 4 x DDR4 DIMM slots, up to 2x 10GbE (Intel X557) and 2x GbE LOM, 1x FH/HL PCI-E x 8 slot, 2x mezzanine slots for various networking and 10 x 2.5” HDD.

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