HP ProLiant DL385 G6 review

The latest ProLiant 2U rack server showcases the Six-Core AMD Opteron processors teamed up with HP’s legendary storage potential. Is it enough to make you swap from Intel? We review the HP ProLiant DL385 G6 to find out.

The DL385 scores highly in the storage department as it offers eight hot-swap SSF disk bays and these can be upgraded to 16. There's even room at the side for HP's Systems Insight Display panel. This provides a read-out on all critical components and instant identification of memory, processor, power supply or fan failures.

Unlike, the Xeon 5500-equipped DL380 G6, the server doesn't have embedded storage controllers so all RAID duties are handled by HP's Smart Array P410 PCI-e cards. The entry model has no cache memory but you can upgrade to 256MB or 512MB, add a battery backup pack and apply a licence key to activate support for RAID6/60 arrays.

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Upgrade the iLO2 chip and you get useful power monitoring and capping features.

If you want all 16 drive bays you'll need to add an extra backplane and a second RAID controller. There's plenty of room inside as the server has a large metal plate covering the motherboard that's used to fit riser cards. There are ample expansion slot choices as you start with a single riser offering three PCI-e slots and you can add a second to bring the slot count up to six.

Removing the expansion cage and plastic cooling shroud reveals the two processor sockets with each partnered by a bank of eight DIMM slots. Cooling for single processor systems is handled by four hot-plug fans and these are upgraded to six for dual processors. Noise levels aren't as low as the DL380 G6, but this server is hardly intrusive.

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The iLO2 advanced upgrade also brings in full server remote control tools.

There's an internal USB port for booting an embedded hypervisor but you don't get the SD memory card slot as featured in the DL380 G6 or Dell's PowerEdge R710. Dell also goes one better as its latest servers feature its UEFI (unified extensible firmware interface) plus the unique Lifecycle Controller and its 1GB of NVRAM.

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