Dell PowerEdge R910 review

Dell lays down the gauntlet with the first Xeon 7500 server to market. In this exclusive review we find out whether it’s time to throw out your old RISC based systems.

Management features start with Dell's unique Lifecycle Controller and its 1GB of NVRAM memory. The server can be booted directly from this controller which loads Dell's UEFI (unified extensible firmware interface) environment complete with GUI and support for mouse and keyboard.

The GUI provides access to an OS deployment wizard where you enter your details and leave the server to get on with installing your chosen OS. The controller also provides diagnostics and update tools plus access to the server settings.

Dell's iDRAC6 Enterprise management controller has a dedicated network port plus VFlash media and 1GB SD card. From its tidy web interface you can remotely monitor and control the server, view the status of critical server components and apply power capping values.

Next up is Dell's Management Console which aims to manage your entire network. This provides automated discovery, support for all SNMP compliant devices and tools for inventory, system monitoring, OS deployment and remote firmware upgrades.

As the first Xeon 7500 server to market, the PowerEdge R910 will be a tough act to follow. It offers a cracking hardware specification for the price and combines this with a big expansion potential, superb internal design, high component redundancy and quality management features.

Verdict

The R910 is a real powerhouse server suited to a wide range of enterprise and data centre duties. It delivers a classy specification for the price with a sharp focus on reliability and redundancy. Add in the high memory capacity plus the new Xeon 7500 RAS features and you have a solid alternative to costly and proprietary RISC servers.

Chassis: 4U rack CPU: 4 x 2GHz X7550 Xeon Memory: 128GB 1066MHz RDIMM DDR3 Storage: 2 x 1GB SD cards; 4 x 73GB Dell SFF SAS 6Gb/sec hard disks in hot-swap carriers RAID: Dell PERC H700 with 512MB cache and BBU Array support: RAID0, 1, 10, 5, 6 Expansion: 7 x PCI-e slots Network: I/O card with 4 x Gigabit Power: 4 x 1100W hot-plug supplies Management: iDRAC6 Enterprise with VFlash/SD Card and 10/100 port Software: Dell Management Console

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