Dell PowerVault NX3000 review

Dell’s latest PowerVault NX3000 brings together a nifty combo of PowerEdge server and Microsoft’s Windows Storage Server 2008. It looks good value and in this review we see what else it delivers.

IP SAN target creation is wizard assisted where you select a volume, provide a target name and assign logged in initiators to it. Within the target you create virtual disks which require an absolute path name for the VHD file and a size. Scheduled virtual disk snapshots provide point in time backups and can also be mounted as new virtual disks.

iSNS services come as standard whilst the Storage Manager for SANs feature provides enhanced LUN management. Microsoft's distributed file system (DFS) allows you to define folders on multiple servers that contain the same files but appear under a single namespace. This provides share redundancy as if one server fails then clients won't lose access to their data.

Using an R710 as its hardware platform allows the NX3000 to offer a number of extra features. Storage can be expanded by adding more RAID controllers and using Dell's M3000 JBODs or it can act as a gateway for the Dell EMC MD3000i appliances.

You also get the Lifecycle Controller and iDRAC6 Express as standard with the latter providing remote access to the server. Power can be controlled remotely and the NX3000 can be upgraded to the iDRAC6 Enterprise if you want full remote control and virtual media.

WSS2008 may not be as exciting in the features department as we'd hoped but it does offer a big cost advantage over many competing NAS/IP SAN solutions. You don't need any CALs as the NX3000 supports unlimited users straight from the box making it look good value.

Along with a classy hardware platform, the NX3000 also offers very good expansion potential. Furthermore, administrators familiar with Windows Server 2008 will find it a cinch to configure and manage.

Verdict

Dell’s new NX3000 sets a high standard as it is offering a top quality hardware platform with plenty of room for capacity expansion. The OS doesn’t present much of a learning curve either so if you’re up close and personal with Windows Server 2008 then you won’t have any problems with WSS2008.

Chassis: 2U rack

CPU: 2.26GHz E5520 Xeon

Memory: 6GB 1066MHz UDIMM DDR3

Storage: 6 x 160GB WD SATA 7.2K hard disks in hot-swap carriers

RAID: Dell PERC 6/i with 256MB cache and BBU

Array support: RAID0, 1, 10, 5, 6

Expansion: 4 x PCI-e slots

Network: 4 x Gigabit

Power: 2 x 870W Energy Smart hot-plug supplies

Management: iDRAC6 Express

Software: Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2008 and iSCSI Target preinstalled

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