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

WD Sentinel DS6100 Review

The WD Sentinel DS6100 is a 8 x 9 x 6-inch pedestal which can serve up to 16TB of unified NAS and iSCSI storage. The DS6100 and its sibling the DS5100 are two recent additions to WD’s growing Sentinel Series lineup of small business network storage appliances, which consolidate primary server and storage solutions for small businesses and branch offices. The DS6100 offers simple deployment with quick access to Microsoft Windows Server 2102 Essentials, allowing the integrated server and storage device that can provide services and applications on the network alongside storage.

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by Lyle Smith

Supermicro SuperStorage Server 2027R-AR24NV Review

The Supermicro SuperStorage Server AR24NV is a high-end storage system built around leading SAS3 12Gb/s technology. It offers seamless migration from SAS2 to SAS3 for SES-2 layer in terms of storage enclosure management, delivering performance that has the ability to realize the full potential of PCIe 3.0-enabled motherboards and SSD storage solutions. The 2027R-AR24NV is comprised of two main subsystems: the SC216A-R920LPB 2U 24-bay chassis and the Super X9DRH-iF-NV dual-processor serverboard. The main attraction though is an all-new 24-bay SAS3 12Gb/s backplane optimized for the latest generation of SSDs as well as an impressive 7 PCIe 3.0 slots to support a wide range RAID/HBA and networking interconnect options.

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by StorageReview Enterprise Lab

Dell PowerEdge R820 12G Review

The Dell PowerEdge R820 is a versatile and high-performance 2U rack server intended for compute and storage-intensive applications and virtualization in midsize and large enterprises. The R820 provides 48 memory DIMMs with up to 1.5TB of DDR3 along with seven PCIe 3.0 slots, support for optional GPU accelerators, and a selection of Dell Select Network Adapters for connectivity to various major network fabrics without requiring a PCIe slot. The R820 is also available with a compelling feature for accelerating the server’s I/O operations: four optional hot-plug, front-access Express Flash PCIe SSDs for high-performance in-box storage tiering.

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by StorageReview Enterprise Lab

Supermicro X9DRX+-F Review

The Supermicro X9DRX+-F is a unique member of the generation X9 server boards that deliver performance, scalability and efficiency in that it also supports 11 PCIe slots (10 PCIe 3.0 x 8 and 1 PCIe 2.0 x4) and 10 USB ports. The X9DRX+-F also features the Intel C602 chipset and supports the Intel Xeon E5-2600 V2 “Ivy Bridge” family, and with 16x DIMM sockets users can leverage up to 1TB DDR3 1600MHz RAM or up to 1866MHz in a one DIMM per channel configuration. With its impressive number of PCIe slots this motherboard stands out in a crowded enterprise space as the go-to platform for many new all-flash storage arrays from flash vendors such as Fusion-io, Micron, and others.

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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 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 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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by Kevin OBrien

Lenovo ThinkServer RD630 Review

The Lenovo ThinkServer RD630 represents a calculated entry into the server market: an affordable server with specifications that support database applications and virtualized infrastructure. The RD630 was announced earlier this year as part of an initiative to expand the ThinkServer brand into enterprise cloud and virtualization deployments. It is a scalable 2U rack server solution featuring hardware RAID and eight to sixteen 2.5-inch hot-swap SAS or SATA drives. Powering the ThinkServer is the Intel Xeon E5-2600 processor family with the Intel C602 Chipset. New products like the RD630 are positioning Lenovo to take on other OEMs like Dell and HP that already operate in the enterprise server market.

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