HP BladeSystem c3000 review: blade server

Reviews 24 Jun, 2009

Built like a tank and not weighing much less, this floor-standing ‘data-centre in a box’ from HP comes on wheels, much to Dave Mitchell's relief.

4
Price: 
£3,805
exc. VAT, with chassis/four power supplies/six fan modules
Verdict: 
HP’s blade servers have always impressed and the c3000 is no exception. Its heavy but compact chassis offers a remarkable expansion potential with a huge range of server and storage blades to choose from, whilst the extensive portfolio of interconnect modules covers virtually every angle. HP’s management tools are the ones to beat as well and make light work of installation and deployment.

EXCLUSIVE

Blade servers have traditionally been beyond the financial means of most SMBs but HP’s BladeSystem c3000 is aimed squarely at this market sector.

Codenamed ‘Shorty’, the c3000 takes everything that makes HP’s mighty c7000 great and squeezes it all into a compact 6U high chassis. Both rack mount and floor standing models are offered and in this exclusive review we take a close look at the latter.

Fortunately for us the floor standing c3000 has wheels on the chassis and the pallet it was delivered in contained a handy ramp. Be under no illusions – the c3000 is built like a tank and doesn’t weigh much less than one either. You can fit four full-height or eight half-height blades into the c3000’s enclosure and choose from all those available for the c7000.

The c3000 runs on single-phase power and the chassis starts with four 1,200W hot-plug power supplies which can be increased to six. It uses the same cooling modules as the c7000 chassis, which are based on jet engine design principals. Take peek down the end of a fan module and you’ll see that the metal fan is shaped like a turbine. They don’t cost much to replace with a new module costing a shade over £100.

To one side, or in the base for the rack version, you have HP’s onboard administrator module, which incorporates its Insight Display. This is a nifty pop-out operator panel and LCD screen and can be used for configuration, fault analysis and checking on general system health. A chat mode enables text based conversations to be conducted between a remote manager and local support staff.

HP offers a choice selection of server blades and these include support for the latest Series 5500 Xeons. We were supplied with the new BL490c G6, which is a half-height blade that supports a pair of 5500 processors. Eighteen DIMM sockets enables the standard 6GB of DDR3 memory to be pushed up to a total of 96GB and you can use memory mirroring as well.

Specifications: 

Chassis: 6U enclosure with eight half-height/four full-height blade slots

Power: 4 x 900W or 1200W hot-swap (max. 6)

Fans: 4 x hot-swap (max. 6)

Expansion: Four interconnect I/O module bays

Management: HP Onboard Administrator, HP Insight Control suite

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