HP ProLiant DL4x170h review

The new DL4x170h multi-node server offers a very interesting and lower cost alternative to blade servers but has HP got it right in the design department? We find out in this review.

Price
£3,711

HP's latest DL1000 offers an interesting alternative to small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) that want to maximise their rack space but don't want to invest in blade servers. Coined multi-node servers, the DL1000 systems offer either two or four independent Xeon 5500 DP servers in a low-profile 2U chassis with the latter allowing you to cram in up to 672 cores in a standard 42U cabinet.

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We should point out first that this design is far from new as Supermicro delivered its innovative Twin rack server solutions nearly a year ago. In our sister title PC Pro, we exclusively reviewed the Xeon 5500 Quattro 5500GP and AMD Six-Core Quattro 6000GP from Boston and were sufficient impressed to recommend both products.

The DL4x170h offers a good range of storage options with the review system providing eight, hot-swap drive bays but options are available for a pair of eight-drive SFF bays that slot in at each end of the front panel. There's nothing else to see at the front and a glance at the rear shows all four nodes in the review system come complete with their own power buttons plus monitor, network, serial and USB ports.

Removing the lid shows that HP hasn't been as clever as Supermicro with its design as the DL170h server nodes are not hot-swappable. Both the 5500GP and 6000GP offers four totally independent hot-swap nodes. Removing HP's nodes is also a tricky process as unlike the Quattro servers, they do not have a cable free design.

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Supermicro uses simple extension bars on each node allowing them to mate with the power and hard disk backplanes. The DL170h nodes each have two separate power connectors and are also cabled through to individual SATA interfaces on the backplane. To release an upper node you have to unplug all the cables, remove a single screw at the back, pull the node forward and lift it out of the chassis where it reveals the lower node beneath.

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