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 G6 has a pair of embedded dual-port Gigabit adapters and also supports dual hot-plug power supplies. For the latter all the latest ProLiants feature a common slot type and you can choose from 460W, 750W and 1200W supplies.

Using our in-line power meter we recorded a draw of 8W in standby and 108W with Server 2008 in idle. Using SiSoft Sandra to max out all six physical cores saw this peak at 174W. When we reviewed the ProLiant DL380 G6, this had a single 2.4GHz Xeon 5530, 6GB of DDR3 memory plus the same storage configuration and pulled a noticeably lower 97W in idle and only 154W under load.

For server management the DL385 sports HP's iLO2 chip. This offers a dedicated Fast Ethernet port at the rear and a tidy web interface, which provides plenty of control over the server. Add the optional advanced key and you get full remote control, virtual media support and power management tools.

5

HP's Systems Insight Manager provides a central point for managing all your HP servers.

HP's Systems Insight Manager software enables you to manage all HP servers with the Insight agent installed. It provides asset management, reporting on system operations, remote firmware upgrade tools and the ability to set alerting thresholds on critical components. In a straight fight we would say that this is quicker to install and easier to use than Dell's Management Console software.

AMD's Six-Core Opteron is a more sophisticated solution than Intel's six-core 7400 Xeons, which are looking dated and have a higher power demand. The DL385 G6 is an excellent AMD-based platform ideally suited to virtualisation duties and the drop-in nature of the six-core processors means qualification will be comparatively short. However, Intel's Nehalem-EX eight-core processors are slated for release early next year and we suspect at this late stage many businesses looking to replace their servers will wait for these.

Verdict

HP’s latest server delivers plenty of Opteron cores for the price, along with one of the best storage capacities for a 2U rack server. It has good expansion potential and fault tolerance, whilst server management tools are amongst the best.

However, we have reservations about buying into a six-core Opteron platform when Nehalem-EX may not be that far off.

Chassis: 2U rack

CPU: 2.4GHz AMD Opteron 2431

Memory: 8GB DDR2 expandable to 128GB

Storage: 3 x 72GB HP SAS SFF 15K hard disk in hot-swap carriers

RAID: HP Smart Array P410 with 256MB cache

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

Expansion: 3 x PCI-e slots (max 6)

Network: 4 x embedded Gigabit

Power: 1 x 460W hot-plug supply (max 2)

Management: HP iLO2 with 10/100

Software: HP System Management Homepage and System Insight Manager

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