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

Dell EMC PowerEdge R640 Review

The PowerEdge R640 is a scalable 1U rack server designed for computing and storage via a 2-socket platform. Described as a balance between performance, cost and density, the R640 is built to handle workloads from a range of different data center use cases--particularly dense software-defined storage, service providers, application tier, dense private cloud, virtualization and High Performance Computing (HPC). Moreover, Dell has built the PowerEdge R640 as an easily deployable server and that can seamlessly scale from 3 to 1000+ nodes for software-defined storage using Dell EMC VxFlex Ready Nodes.

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by Adam Armstrong

Dell EMC PowerEdge R7415 Server Review

Earlier this year, Dell EMC released 2 new single-socket PowerEdge servers with AMD EPYC processors - the PowerEdge R6415 and the PowerEdge R7415. The PowerEdge R7415 is a 2U single-socket server with enterprise-class AMD EPYC processors available. Being a single-socket server, users can expect a cost savings in both lower license costs and power costs, resulting in a better TCO. Of course, AMD has also stated that the price of the CPU is lower than the two CPU counterparts, giving the R7415 access to new workloads where conventional dual-socket systems may not be ideal. The R7415 can be loaded with up to 24 NVMe drives that not only can bring a large performance boost but with the ever increasing density of these drives, can potentially offer incredible capacity. This would position the server ideally for use cases such as software deļ¬ned storage (SDS) or business analytics.

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by Kevin OBrien

Dell EMC PowerEdge R740xd Server Review

In the spring of 2017, Dell EMC launched the much-anticipated refresh of the PowerEdge lineup, upgrading the PowerEdge lineup to Xeon SP from Broadwell. The refresh included the new R740 server family, which encompasses the mainstream R740 as well as the "extreme disk" version dubbed the R740xd, which we will be looking at in this review. This powerhouse server supports a wide range of storage options, stretching up to eighteen 3.5" or thirty-two 2.5" disks for incredible capacity, or up to twenty-four 2.5" NVMe SSDs, if breakneck storage I/O is more of your forte. Compute and DRAM aren't left in the backseat either, with the R740xd supporting up to dual Intel Xeon Scalable processors with 28 cores each and a peak memory footprint of 3TB max. There are few applications this new server wouldn't excel in, which is exactly the direction Dell EMC took when designing this ever-modular platform.

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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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