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.

The embedded Lights Out 100i controller on each node shares the second Gigabit port and provides a basic remote management feature set. From its web interface you can reset the node, power it off and on and do a hard reset. The status of all critical components can be viewed and the PEF (platform event filtering) feature allows you to select components and assign actions that will be carried out if they fail.

Unlike HP's iLO2 controller, the 100i web interface doesn't provide any power metering or capping tools. However, integrated into the chassis is HP's new PIC (power interface controller) and using the basic PPIC Windows command line utility allows you to apply node performance throttling settings to the entire system.

We would strongly recommend upgrading the 100i with the advanced package as the extra KVM-over-IP and virtual media features were invaluable when it came to installing an OS. If you run a locally managed install you'll need to lose the mouse when adding an optical drive as each node only has two USB ports. Note that the Boston Quattro servers have these features as standard.

The DL4x170h delivers a big processing density in a compact 2U rack server with a low starting price. Storage options are good but the cluttered internal design and lack of node or cooling fan hot-swap capabilities makes it a poor choice if downtime is a dirty word in your server room.

Verdict

The DL4x170h scores highly for value as it delivers a quartet of Xeon 5500 DP server nodes for under four grand and power consumption is also very low. However, the nodes are not hot-swappable and the internal cooling fans are difficult to get at so any failures will result in prolonged downtime. If multi-node servers pique your curiosity then check out the Boston Quattro systems as these have superior redundancy.

Chassis: 2U ProLiant h1000 G6 rack Power: 1 x 1200W hot-plug supply (max 2) Storage: 4 x 160GB SATA 7.2K hard disk in hot-swap carriers (max 8) Server nodes: 4 (each with the following spec) CPU: 2GHz E5504 Xeon Memory: 6GB 800MHz DDR3 UDIMM RAID: Embedded HP Smart Array P110i Array support: RAID0, 1, 10 (cold-swap SATA) Expansion: 1 x PCI-e 2.0 slot Network: 2x Gigabit Management: HP Lights Out 100i (shares NIC 2) Software: HP Easy Set-Up CD and HP System Management Homepage Options: Lights-Out upgrade, £165 ex VAT

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