Dell PowerEdge R710 server review

Dell’s sleek new PowerEdge R710 aims to beat HP’s mighty ProLiant DL380 on all counts – can it match up?

Price
£3,945

When we took an exclusive look at Dell's PowerEdge R610 at the end of March we were bowled over by this 1U rack server's innovative new features, slick design and value.

Now we move up to the latest 2U PowerEdge R710 and see whether it has what it takes to stand up to HP's ProLiant DL380, which HP claims is the world's best selling server.

The R710 as a system includes everything the R610 has to offer. This means it has a sharp focus on reduced power consumption, delivers Dell's brand new centralised system management tools and, of course, has the Lifecycle Controller, which makes the eleventh generation PowerEdge servers quite unique. This delivers features such as build level audits, firmware version recording and options to transplant the server's settings to others for swift deployment.

Embedded on the server's motherboard, the Lifecycle Controller is a small black box containing 1GB of NVRAM memory. You can boot the server directly from this controller by selecting the System Services option in the boot menu, which loads Dell's UEFI (unified extensible firmware interface) environment complete with GUI and support for mouse and keyboard.

Dell scores over both HP and IBM in the OS deployment department as the UEFI replaces Dell's Server Assistant disc. It provides a built-in deployment wizard where you enter your details and leave the server to get on with installing your chosen OS. HP and IBM still require you to use their respective SmartStart and ServerGuide discs to boot the server to access the OS deployment tools.

The R710 sports Dell's new iDRAC6 management controller which has a dedicated network port at the rear of the server. It provides a web browser interface for remote monitoring and viewing the status of critical server components and the Enterprise upgrade key brings in virtual boot media and KVM-over-IP remote access.

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