HPE Apollo 4510 review

HPE’s Apollo 4510 is on an object storage mission

Reviews
8 Jan, 2016
5
Price 
£9,583
ex VAT (LFF diskless)
Pros 
Greatly improved chassis design; Big storage capacity; Neat hardware integration; Good value
Cons 
Scality RING requires a minimum of six 4510 systems
Verdict 
The Apollo 4510 has a big capacity ideally suited to object storage and the chassis redesign delivers plenty of new features and a greatly improved rack density

Big Data needs big solutions and HPE’s latest Apollo 4500 family offers a choice of rack servers aimed at bulk file and object storage or analytics workloads. In this exclusive review, we look at the Apollo 4510 which also targets applications such as web and cloud storage services, hosted backup, content delivery and data archiving.

There’s more as HPE has got up close and personal with a number of software vendors including Scality, Cleversafe and Ceph and has produced reference architectures for all of them. Scality is HPE’s most notable partner as it recently announced a deal to resell its RING object storage software with the Apollo 4500 servers. 

The 4510 is also being promoted by HPE as a platform for massive Exchange 2013 deployments. The high capacity of the 4510 allows it to handle large numbers of mailboxes in the smallest of rack spaces.

With one integral server node, the 4510 isn’t targeting big data analytics apps such as Apache Hadoop. HPE advised us that its Apollo 4530 server is better suited to this as its three integral server nodes means it’s faster and has support for three data copies in the same chassis.

Updated hardware 

At its foundation, the Apollo 4510 is a reengineered ProLiant SL4500 and a big change is a height reduction from a non-standard 4.3U down to a neater 4U. This matters a lot where rack density is a valuable commodity as data centres can now squeeze ten 4510 chassis into a 42U cabinet and still have 2U left over for top of rack switching gear. 

Storage capacity gets a boost as the 4510 has 60 vertical hot-plug LFF drive bays under the lid and room for an 8-drive cage at the rear. With 8TB drives on HPE’s certified list, a single chassis can provide 544TB of bulk storage scaling to 5.4PB per 42U rack.

Server processing power gets an upgrade as the slot on the left side of the front panel is populated with an XL450 Gen9 server node. Despite its compact dimensions it packs in a fine specification and the price we’ve shown includes dual 2.3GHz E5-2650 v3 Xeons partnered by 32GB of DDR4 which can be upgraded to 1TB.

The 4510 supports one server node which has been upgraded to Gen9 status

Storage galore 

The chassis backplane handles all server node, expansion card and storage connections and now supports 12Gbps SAS drives. Cooling is managed by five hot-plug fans in-line behind the backplane and they must be replaced within 60 seconds otherwise the system will initiate a graceful shutdown.

The server node has an embedded Smart Array B140i RAID controller which supports mirrored and striped SATA drives. We had the optional Smart Array P244br controller card which snaps in to a dedicated slot in front of the CPU sockets and adds support for 12Gbps SAS drives.

For object storage, the chassis has 60 LFF top-loading drive bays neatly arranged in five rows underneath the lid. All the drives are linked by the backplane to the removable expansion card cage at the rear and managed by a Smart Array P440 RAID PCI-E card which supports midline SATA and SAS drives plus RAID6 and 60 arrays.

The server has 60 top-loading LFF bays and can be upgraded to 68 with an extra rear cage

The extra 8-drive cage slots into the bay at the rear and mates directly with the backplane. If you want to split your object storage for better performance, you can add more Smart Array PCI-E controllers and assign specific drives to them.

All 68 storage bays can be managed by multiple Smart Array RAID cards installed in the chassis’ expansion cage

Expansion and management 

The expansion cage has four PCI-Express slots and dual embedded Gigabit Ethernet ports at its base. It’s also been updated with a FlexibleLOM interface which accepts HPE’s low-profile Gigabit Ethernet, 10GbE and 40GbE adapters.

Our system had dual 800W hot-plug PSUs and there’s room for two more. HPE also offers Platinum and Titanium-rated PSUs plus a 1400W version and they all share a common form factor.

There are no worries when it comes to remote systems management as the 4510 has HPE’s iLO4 controller lurking in a small removable cage at the back. Along with a dedicated management port, you get an iLO4 Advanced license which adds features such as full OS remote control and iLO Federation allowing multiple servers to be managed from one web interface.

HPE’s iLO4 controller keeps a close eye on system power consumption

HPE has installed a 96W Megacell battery which is a neat touch. This provides cache protection in the event of a black-out and as it connects directly to the backplane, extends this to all Smart Array cards including the one in the server node.

Conclusions 

With IBM recently acquiring Cleversafe, it’s no surprise that HPE is now focusing more on its relationship with Scality. The high capacity of the Apollo 4510 makes it a good choice for its RING object storage software although you’ll need at least six of them as this is the minimum requirement for its storage clusters. 

Either way, the Apollo 4510 has benefited immensely from its redesign as raw storage capacity gets a big boost and it comes with the latest Gen9 server power. The retooled chassis neatly integrates every system component together, its reduced height improves rack density and it all comes at a very competitive price.

Specifications 

Chassis: 4U rack

Server node: HPE XL450 Gen9

CPU: 2 x 2.3GHz Intel Xeon E5-2650 v3

Memory: 32GB 2,133MHz DDR4 (max 1TB with LR-DIMMs)

Storage: 2 x SFF, 60 x LFF hot-swap drive bays (max 68 LFF)

RAID: Embedded Smart Array P244br, Smart Array P440 PCI-E

Array support: RAID0, 1, 10, 5, 50, 6, 60

Expansion: 4 x PCI-E (3 free), FlexibleLOM

Network: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet

Power: 2 x 800W hot-plug PSUs (max 4)

Management: HP iLO4 Advanced

Warranty: three-year on site NBD