While we have tinkered with vitualisation in the office, we now have a definitive path forward and needed a robust,reliable new server that had maximised uptime and ease of remote management.
Therefore we have opted for a DL380 G5 and we have not been disappointed!
Read on for more details of this great server and how it become such an important part of our setup.
The DL380 is really designed to slot into a server cabinet
or rack and therefore comes in the standard 2U height configuration. It takes up minimal space in the rack while maximising the the performance.
Weight is extremely heavy. It takes 2 of you to pick it up and even install the rail mounting kit
(sold separately) that you use to slide it into the rack. What I do like about the mounts on this server is it gives you the option to add 2 extra bolts for safety so the server is secured into the rack permanently. This way if for some reason the rack tipped, the servers would not come flying out and smashing themselves and you to pieces!
The Looks of it are fantastic. There is not a lot of unused or unwanted plastic masking the front. The entire front area is packed with features, controls, inputs and disk bays. Even the DVD rom drive
has been slimmed down to compact it in. There is also a large vent to aid cooling. After all, a beast of this magnitude is going to take some cooling.
Turn it round and again the rear is mainly ports for connecting hardware or vents for cooling. There are also 2 large bays where the removable power supplies go.
It comes with one preinstalled powersupply that can be removed quickly and there is room for an optional 2nd power supply
. This is a great idea if you plan on powering your server from 2 separate outlets or power sources as you can guarantee that if one fails, you can rely on the 2nd or redundant source. Mainly aimed at larger datacentres that implement that but also a great demonstration of the thought and planning that has gone into the redundant capabilities of this server.
Power consumption is vastly reduced over the older G4 models as everything has ben shrunk. This includes the disk drives
and a more efficient cooling system. When it starts up, you know its starting up
though. It sounds more like a jet engine than a server as everything whirs into life. This seems to eminate from the power supplies and the internal cooling fans
. However after 30 seconds or so, everything calms down and tends to revolve at a much slower and quiter rate.
If you look at the pictures I have uploaded you will see a good breakdown of these.
At the front, the main improvment has been a revised display/control panel
. This remains as LEDs for warnings but now shows much more information. From here you can see the general health of the server components including the RAM
, Hard Disks, Power supplies
andNetwork connections. Green Lights mean all is well. no lights means the device is not present and a red light means the device is failing. Useful for spotting problems internally without the need to take the server apart.
Connections at the front aid setup immensely as there are 2 USB2.0
connections for attaching a keyboard and mouse
for configuration as well as a front VGA socket for connecting to a monitor. This makes it much easier as you dont need to keep removing it from the rack for setup and configuration.
Once the server is all installed and set up, you can resort to the rear connections which include another VGA socket for connecting to the KVM switch
or monitor, 2 x 1GB LAN connections to get your server on the network, 4 USB sockets for connection of a keyboard
or mouse and the legacy PS/2 connections again for keyboards
and mice or a KVM controller.
Installed straight from the get go is 2GB of DDR II SDRAM
to give an already powerful machine a real kick start into life. However, you can expand this to up to 32GB! I cant say you are likely to get the usage of this and a lot of server operating systems
limit the actual RAM they will use. For example Windows 2003 Server
(which is what we use) can only access and utilise 4GB of RAM so pointless having more in the server.
This server is all about saving space. Even the hard disks contribute to this by using Small Form Factor
that are all loaded from the front and externally too! No opening the case to add more and all can be changed quickly thanks to using Hot Swap technology. This means they come in little caddies than can be pulled in and out with one flick of a locking switch. They have great storage capacity to with each of our 6 Serial Attached SCSI
drive having 142GB or storage.
You can have up to 8 disk drives installed this way and using the HP Raid utility during setup (which is included) you can literally configure your drives to behave in any way possible. Whether its the redundancy of Raid 5
you want or the mirroring ability of Raid 1
, this does it all.
Out of this world. It is so stable and so quick to start up. Its like lightning. We use our server to offer additional protection to our virtualised servers. This means we have 3 or 4 software servers sitting on 1 actual piece of hardware. Because of this, the 1 piece of hardware is being worked 4 times harder! We need it to be ultra reliable as its carrying all our eggs in one basket. It does this with ease and more than handles the resource requirements of Windows 2003
Server (x4) and VMWARE.
Extremely easy. You do need to use the setup disks for preparing the server for your usage that come with it. This allows you to prepare the enviroment for its intended usage. The Raid Array utility is simple and straight forward and all explained on screen. Adding additional processors and additional RAM (We added an extra processor and extra 2GB RAM
) is simliar to installing it to a PC
. If you can add it to a PC you can add it to your server.
These start at around £1200 but be aware.......
For this it comes with NO Hard disks
. It also only comes with 1 power supply, 1 Processor and 2GB of RAM. Its probably cheapest to configure your server on a supplier's website before purchase as it normally works out cheaper.
For example, an additional Processor works out around £500-700. An additional Power Supply is about £500. Hard disks are about £120 each. It soon mounts up. We paid roughly £3200 for ours and we had an extra processor, 2GB RAM extra, 6 Hard disks, a mounting kit (worth £150). Saying all of this it should be a reliable server for years to come.
Its a great server and like most things i like you seem to get what you pay for. Sure, the actual cost of the server is masked in the extras that you buy on top of the base model but then again, most decent servers will start around the £3K mark. I think this is an absolute must for those that really rely on their servers being reliable and robust.
Why do I always tempt fate?
Arrived this morning to the server down. Looks like the modular power supply has failed in it. It is under warranty with HP and after calling their help desk
it is a recognised problem and a new power supply will be with us tomorrow. I have also ordered a hot spare redundant power supply
to slot into the spare power supply slot. This has cost £105 plus the shipping.