Rackservers.com 6025B-3RB

Editor's ChoiceStep 8: Rackservers.com 6025B-3RB
Price
£5,799
  • Very good value, high-speed SAS for the OS and high-capacity SATA for data storage, zero-channel RAID card, very clean and well designed internals.
  • General noise levels, only 4GB of memory.

No prizes for guessing what this company specialises in and for this group test Rackservers.com delivers an impressive package with storage capacity very high on the agenda. Supermicro is proving a very popular choice for many system integrators with three servers in our group test comprising various mixtures of this manufacturer's motherboards and chassis.

The 6025B-3RB uses essentially the same chassis as the Transtec 302L which comes with eight hot-swap drive bays. However, Rackservers.com has been more adventurous with storage and this solution neatly shows off the many benefits of using a SAS controller. For the operating system you get a pair of 147GB high performance SAS drives configured as a mirror whilst general data storage is handled by no less than six 750GB Seagate SATA drives. Because SAS controllers support both the SATA Tunneling Protocol and serial SCSI Protocol you can link both drive types to the same controller and backplane hot-plug connectors. The serial point-to-point interface also provides a full duplex 3Gb/sec link to each hard disk.

Even with all this storage on tap you don't lose out in other critical areas as although you only get 4GB of memory the 6025B-3RB does sport a pair of 2.33GHz quad-core Xeons. The cooling arrangements are the same as for the Transtec server with three fans looking after the entire chassis so you'll find operational noise levels a little on the high side.

The server doesn't use a riser card for the expansion slots so although you're limited to half height cards all available PCI-X and PCI-e slots are up for grabs. Server management is present and correct as the server also comes complete with Supermicro's IPMI 2.0 remote management card. This provides web access for remotely controlling the server, accessing power controls and using virtual devices for booting the server whilst the SuperO Doctor III utility delivers general web monitoring software tools.

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We particularly like this choice of motherboard as it combines both Intel six-port SATA and Adaptec eight-port SAS embedded controllers making for a very tidy internal design with minimal cable related clutter. The SATA ports do lie idle but the SAS interfaces are presented to the drive backplane on the motherboard edge as a pair of four-port connectors. This makes light work of cabling as Rackservers.com has fitted two breakout cables allowing the SAS controller to look after all drive bays. The other bonus is the ZCR (zero channel RAID) slot has an Adaptec-based PCI-X card installed. The embedded HostRAID function offers basic drive striping and mirroring but the card takes over the SAS ports to deliver RAID-5 and -50 array support and with no extra cables required.

Verdict

A well-balanced server with a good choice of motherboard plus a smart mix of SAS and SATA drives delivering a valuable combination of high performance and huge capacity.

Motherboard - Supermicro X7DB3 CPU - 2 x 2.33GHz Xeon 5345 Chipset - Intel 5000P Memory - 4GB 667MHz FB-DIMMs expandable to 32GB Storage controller - embedded Adaptec SAS and Intel SATA Disk interface - SAS/SATA Disk drives 2 x 147GB Fujitsu 15K SAS, 6 x 750GB Seagate SATA RAID controller - AOC-LPZCR2 PCI-X Expansion slots - 2 x PCI-e8X, PCI-e4X, 3 x PCI-X Network ports - 2 x Intel Gigabit; Power - 1 x 700W Management software - SuperO Doctor III, IPMI View Other - Supermicro SIMLP-B management card Warranty - Three yrs on-site

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