Dell PowerEdge R430 review (2)

Dell PowerEdge R430 offers an impressive compute power for space-constrained racks

Storage conundrums

The review system had four 1TB SATA LFF drives with each cold-swap carrier cabled directly to the motherboard’s SATA port via a fan-out cable. Entry-level systems start with the embedded PERC S130 controller which supports RAID0, 1, 5 and 10 arrays in software.

Hot-swap drives are supported by the S130 but you’ll need to specify this backplane during the ordering phase. A dedicated expansion slot is also provided and you can choose from the PERC H330, H730 and H730P snap-in cards which all support 12Gbps SAS drives with the latter two offering 1GB or 2GB of Flash backed cache.

It gets more complicated as the PERC cards have dual 4-port connectors so only support up to eight SAS SFF drives. The 8-bay backplane also has a cut-out to allow a low-profile optical drive to be fitted in the front panel.

Contrary to some of the images on Dell’s web site, the 10-bay model only supports SATA SFF drives where the backplane takes up all available space at the front of the server. It’s cabled to all four of the motherboard’s embedded SATA ports and cannot be used with the optional PERC RAID cards.

Internal design

The short depth of the chassis makes good cooling design imperative and Dell has done a fine job. System cooling is handled by a bank of six cold-swap, dual rotor fans in front of the motherboard while the CPU sockets and attendant DIMM slots are covered by a removable plastic air shroud.

The smooth air flow path through the chassis means the fans don’t have to work hard and we found the R430 extremely quiet. The portion of the lid over the PSU bays gets a bit warm to the touch but as long as you leave some space above the server, this won’t be an issue.

Memory allotment is slightly unusual as the eight front slots are assigned to the first CPU socket while the second socket gets four slots. The main advantage here is you can cut costs by specifying a single CPU and still upgrade to 256GB of memory.



The free OpenManage Essentials app provides network system monitoring and alerting tools

IBM Deal Includes M5 Servers for Mission-Critical Apps

Credit : Darryl K. Taft

Among the product lines Lenovo acquired this week from IBM is the new M5 portfolio of x86 servers designed to deliver innovations in security, efficiency and reliability for mission-critical apps. The new M5 servers support a range of enterprise workloads and computing environments—from infrastructure basics to cloud computing to big data and analytics. The line includes highly configurable models of rack and tower servers, dense systems, blades and integrated systems to help clients address business challenges in the data center and the office. The System x M5 servers include the System x3650 M5, the System x3550 M5, the System x3500 M5, the Flex System x240 M5, the NeXtScale nx360 M5 and the NeXtScale System with Water Cool Technology. "Clients need to support more demanding workloads with limited budgets while dealing with increasingly sophisticated attacks on their infrastructure," said Adalio Sanchez, general manager for IBM x86 and PureSystems Solutions. The new servers come with Intel's new Xeon E5-2600 v3 processors and up to 1.5 terabytes of faster, energy-saving DDR4 memory. The servers' built-in diagnostic tools are designed for easy serviceability and reduced labor costs. Take a look at the new servers in the following slides. (Note: Lenovo is expected to use the IBM brand on System x products for about a year.)

Dell PowerEdge R430 review (3)

Dell PowerEdge R430 offers an impressive compute power for space-constrained racks

Deployment and power

Dell’s embedded LifeCycle Controller makes light work of OS deployment as we used it to install Windows Server 2012 R2 with all the right drivers inside 30 minutes. It provides firmware upgrades tools, hardware diagnostics and facilities for configuring remote access and storage.

Dell’s iDRAC8 provides a wealth of remote management features. Along with power controls, we could monitor graphs of power consumption and temperatures but if you want full remote control, you’ll must upgrade to the Enterprise version – we’ve included this in the price shown.

The server was supplied with dual 1.6GHz E5-2603 Xeons and redundant 550W Platinum PSUs which proved to be easy on the power supply. With the OS in idle we measured a draw of 85W which peaked at only 132W with the CPUs under extreme load from the SiSoft Sandra benchmarking app.



Dell’s OMM iOS app allowed us to keep a close eye on the server from our iPad 


HP ProLiant ML150 Gen9 review (3)

A compact but powerful tower that’s ideal for SMBs and remote offices

Deployment and monitoring

Whichever storage package you opt for, you’ll find deployment a doddle with HP’s Active Intelligent Provisioning tool on the case. We selected this from the boot-up menu, ran through the quick deploy wizard and had Windows Server 2012 R2 loaded up in 30 minutes.

HP Proliant ML150 Gen9 Server monitoring tools are in abundance with the System Management HomePage browser interface furnishing us with a local server status screen. HP’s Insight Control offers complete network systems management and we also used HP’s iOS Insight Online app with our Passport account to view registered systems, monitor support cases and check support contracts.

The jewel in this server’s crown is its embedded iLO4 controller which shares access with the first Gigabit port and offers some of the best remote monitoring tools around. The inclusive iLO4 Standard license provides agentless server monitoring with heaps of data on critical components and access to remote power controls.

It also has direct access to HP support for fault logging. However, an Essentials or Advanced license is required for features such as OS remote control, advanced power monitoring and the Federation feature which allows multiple ProLiant servers to be viewed from one console.

Bear in mind that you must have a valid warranty or support contract with HP to get access to regular ROM BIOS firmware updates. However, it will provide open access to critical firmware updates regardless of support agreements.


HP’s Smart Storage Administrator provides direct access to its RAID controller for array management


HP ProLiant ML150 Gen9 review (1)

HP ProLiant ML150 Gen9 review

A compact but powerful tower that’s ideal for SMBs and remote offices

SMBs looking to upgrade to a purpose-built tower server will find HP’s new HP Proliant ML150 Gen9 has everything they could possibly want and at a price that’ll suit their budget. Measuring a modest 200 x 630 x 432mm (WDH), it supports dual Xeon E5-2600 v3 CPUs, can handle up to 512GB of fast DDR4 memory and has room for 64TB of storage.

Of course, all that doesn’t come as standard. HP’s Gen9 mantra is buy now, upgrade later so you can add extra components as the need arises.

We review the most basic preconfigured system which costs a shade over £900. This includes a single 1.6GHz E5-2603 v3 Xeon, 4GB of memory and one unpopulated quad LFF cold-swap drive bay.

The ML150 Gen9 offers plenty of room inside for essential upgrades and easy access for maintenance


Dell PowerEdge R430 review (4)

Dell PowerEdge R430 offers an impressive compute power for space-constrained racks

Server management

Dell OpenManage Server Administrator provides local and remote web-based management for the server it’s installed on. The free OpenManage Essentials goes further by extending centralised management and alerting to all your SNMP and WMI enabled systems.

We were pleased to see Dell has updated its OpenManage Mobile (OMM) app with improved iOS support. We had problems with it when we reviewed the R730 as it refused to talk to the server’s iDRAC controller.

OMM version 1.0.2 resolves these issues but after updating our app, we still couldn’t connect to the R430’s iDRAC. We discussed this Dell and the workaround was to remove the app and do a fresh install from the App Store.

With this fixed, we could view the server’s vital signs from the OMM app on our iPad which listed details of installed CPUs and memory plus the OS version. Hardware logs are provided for system events and the LifeCycle controller, we could check on the firmware versions for all hardware components and view a server health status page.


Dell’s confusing web site ordering processes and user manual make choosing the right storage options more complicated than necessary but there’s no doubting the R430’s credentials. Its compact chassis teams up a powerful specification with good expansion potential and all at a price that will appeal to enterprises and SMBs alike.

HP ProLiant ML150 Gen9 review (2)

A compact but powerful tower that’s ideal for SMBs and remote offices

Internal design and storage choices

Build-wise, the HP Proliant ML150 Gen9 is a winner as inside the solid, lockable metal chassis is a well-designed interior. All the important bits are easy to get at for upgrades, and the memory and CPU sockets are covered by a sturdy transparent plastic air shroud that’s simple to remove.

For the review, HP fitted four 500GB SATA drives for us to play with but you can choose from a big selection of storage configurations although the sheer range can make it confusing. An extra four-drive cold-swap bay can be added and the server’s embedded Dynamic Smart Array B140i RAID controller has a spare connector for it.

If you don’t mind losing the 5.25-inch bays up above, the B140i also lets you add two more LFF SATA drives for a total of 10. If you want more, you can add HP’s H240 PCI-e RAID card which supports 8 hot-swap 12Gbps SAS SFF drives – or go for a P840 card and max out at 16 drives.

For hard disks, you’re spoilt for choice as HP offers a huge range of LFF and SFF drives plus SSDs. SATA, Midline-SAS and SAS are available and HP has now certified 6TB and 8TB LFF SAS helium drives for this server.

HP’s embedded Active Intelligent Provisioning makes light work of OS installation

Dell PowerEdge R430 review (1)


Dell PowerEdge R430 offers an impressive compute power for space-constrained racks

SMBs looking to maximise their precious rack space will like Dell’s new PowerEdge R430. This 1U rack server may only be 24in. deep but it squeezes in a big hardware package that includes dual E5-2600 v3 CPUs, a high memory capacity and plenty of storage options.

Dell supplied us with the base model kitted out with four LFF drive bays serviced by the embedded PERC S130 RAID controller. Ordered at the point of sale, the R430 can be specified with up to 10 SFF drives and choice selection of PCI-Express RAID cards although, as we found, the process is far from simple.

The R430 exhibits very good internal design and whisper-quiet cooling



Dell’s iDRAC8 controller provides quality server monitoring tools and handy power consumption graphs

Dell PowerEdge T20 review (5)

More powerful and flexible than a NAS, this server is great value for small businesses that want to keep their options open
by : Kat Orphanides

There are plenty of options for small businesses in need of shared storage, from subscription-based cloud services to all manner of NAS devices. However, when it comes to versatility, ease of upgrading and the ability to add software features, your own server is often the best of all worlds. The Dell PowerEdge T20 is an entry-level model, aimed primarily at small businesses that want to organise and consolidate their data into a single storage location.

The T20 is priced and specified accordingly, and is currently available from as little as £219, excluding VAT and delivery. That’s a low price, but you must think about the components you choose, as the base specification doesn’t include hard disks.


Our review system is specified a little more highly. We specified two hard disks, for instance, so that we could create a RAID array and protect our data. If one drive fails the data will be preserved on the second. When you replace the damaged drive, its contents will be synchronised with the remaining disks in your array. If you're using a server for important data and projects, RAID is a vital element in protecting you against data loss through hardware failure. Our server’s two 1TB hard disks can be combined into a 1TB RAID volume.

We also opted for a quad-core 3.1GHz Intel Xeon E3-1225 processor. A faster processor often produces faster file transfer speeds, and the Xeon E3-1225 opens up a wide range of options for use and the operating systems you can run smoothly. A quad-core processor, for instance, is ideal for virtualisation. If you install VMware ESX on your server, you can then run one or more virtualised operating systems so that you can run multiple virtual servers from a single machine. The ease with which you can move and copy virtual servers, which are hardware independent by definition, has made them increasingly popular.

Our review server is equipped with just 4GB of RAM, though, and we’d prefer more as 4GB isn’t enough memory to run ESX or even Microsoft's Small Business Server comfortably. However, popular Linux server distributions such as Novell OpenSUSE and Ubuntu Server work well with 4GB. You can specify your server at the time of purchase with 4GB or 8GB of ECC RAM, and it can take a maximum of 32GB. Unlike regular desktop memory, ECC (Error Checking & Correction) memory can detect and correct single- and multi-bit errors that could potentially crash a server or corrupt data. ECC RAM is vital if you need your server to work as reliably as possible and stay working, so is probably worth the investment.


The T20's mini tower case looks very smart. It's a free-standing server of essentially the same kind of chassis design as you'd find in a desktop system, but its near-silent rear and CPU cooling fans make it very quiet during most operations. Even the fans' initial spin-up to full speed is just a muted whirr rather than the jet-turbine roar associated with many servers. The case echoes and magnifies the sounds of disk activity, but not to deafening a degree.

The interior is well laid out, but the finish on some of the case’s bare metal innards was a little rough. Instead of a couple of 5 1/4in drive bays at the top, there are two vacant 3 1/2in bays. There are another two 3 1/2in bays, each loaded with a 1TB hard disk, at the bottom. Optional mounting brackets are available if you specify 2 1/2in disks with your server, but not included by default. There's also space for a slimline disc drive at the very top of the front panel.



PowerEdge T20 review (1)

Is the Dell T20 the perfect server for small businesses and SOHOs?

Credit :

Dell’s latest Dell PowerEdge T20 aims to offer an alternative for small businesses relying on a simple NAS box to provide shared storage to their users. Designed as a purpose built server, the PowerEdge T20 targets a range of home offices, SOHOs and remote offices.
This compact desktop system looks good value and we found it to be quiet. Competition comes from products such as the ProLiant MicroServer Gen8 and in this review we see if Dell has the edge over HP.
Unlike the beefier PowerEdge T110 II, the latest Dell PowerEdge T20 is offered in two fixed processor configurations. For £219, the entry model has a 3GHz Pentium G3220 CPU, 4GB of UDIMM memory and no hard disks.
Adding a 500GB hard disk to the entry model takes the asking price up to £264. Our review was top of the range with a quad-core 3.2GHz E3-1225 V3 Xeon, 4GB of UDIMM memory and a 1TB SATA hard disk. It was priced at £389.

Interior design provides good access and you can add more hard disks in the upper bays