Dell PowerEdge R715 review

Dell's latest PowerEdge R715 is being promoted as the perfect all-round rack server for SMBs. In this review we take an in-depth look at its new dual-socket Opteron 6100 system and also pitch it up against its biggest competitor, HP's ProLiant DL385 G7.

ProLiant DL380 G7.

Dell's new iDRAC6 console is much smarter than the previous version and opens with a complete status report on all critical components. On the Enterprise version you also get a thumbnail preview of the server's screen and quick access to KVM-over-IP remote control.

Power monitoring gets far more attention as the console now provides tables showing peak and average power usage along with statistics of total usage over time. It also shows real-time consumption graphs and power capping can be set in Watts, BTU/hr or as a percentage of total available power.

HP's iLO3 has better remote control performance and tighter access security with AES hardware encryption. The iDRAC6 doesn't offer any encryption options although remote control performance is good with only a slight lag to mouse actions.

As we've shown in processor performance tests carried out by PC Pro, the performance of AMD's Opteron 6100 is roughly in line with Intel's 5600 Xeons. Their higher physical core count and greater memory support for 2P platforms make them good candidates for virtualisation duties.

For those with an eye on the future it's also worth noting that the Opteron 6100 is the first phase of AMD's 'Maranello' 6000 platform series. Dell confirmed to us that the R715 will support the next 'Interlagos' 12- and 16-core processors as drop-in upgrades making the R715 a good long-term investment.

So what's our verdict?

Verdict

Dell's first dual Opteron 6100 server is a good value platform for virtualisation and is clearly capable of handling many other duties including small databases and server consolidation. However, if a high storage capacity is a key requirement then HP's ProLiant DL385 G7 is a far better choice and although Dell has improved its remote management features, they're still not as good as HP's.

Chassis: 2U rack CPU: 2 x 2.2GHz AMD Opteron 6174 Memory: 32GB DDR3 1333MHz RDIMM memory expandable to 256GB Storage: 2 x 146GB Dell 15K.2 SFF 6Gb/s SAS hard disks in hot-swap carriers RAID: Dell PERC H700 RAID card with 512MB cache and BBU Array support: RAID 0, 1, 10, 5, 6 Expansion: 6 x PCI-Express 2.0 slots Network: 4 x Gigabit Ethernet Power: 2 x 750W hot-plug supplies Management: iDRAC6 Enterprise Software: Dell Management Console Warranty: 3year on-site next business day

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