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HP Proliant DL360 G3

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      25.03.2005 12:30
      Very helpful



      I first used the Generation 1 DL360 around 4 years ago, they were somewhat revolutionary as they came in a 1U package, meaning that 42 could be squeezed into a rack. For some reason I think because they are thin but wide and long they got named pizza boxes. This review is on the G3 model of the 360 there is now a G4 model available but I have not seen any of these as yet.

      The DL360 comes from the density optimized line, this means that there are some sacrifices that are made to package the server smaller. DL servers don't typically have many hard disk slots as the low end servers DL360 etc are normally used for infrastructure services and the high end DL580, DL740 for SAN attached functions such as databases, or file servers, they also typically don't have as many PCI slots as the ML range.

      ********** Specification*************

      The DL360 is at the low end of the DL range and will accept either 1 or 2 Intel Zeon processors ranging up to 2.4GHz, the server can be ordered with either one or two proc’s if you order the single proc version an additional can be purchased when you require more capacity. The server will take up to 8GB of PC2100 memory arranged in 4 slots. The server also has 2 PCI-X expansion slots if you don’t have the redundant power option, if you add the redundant power then you sacrifice a slot, to attach to a SAN a dual port PCI card will need to be purchased. The server comes with 2 copper Gigabit NIC's on board, additional NIC's can be added using the PCI expansion slots. For the internal disks the server has a built in smartarray 5i+ controller which allows you to have Raid1 using the 2 internal hot plug disk slots. This low end server has can have redundancy added to it with additional power supply and hot plug fans being added all reducing potential down time.

      ********** Manageability*************

      HP have a device called the Integrated Lights-Out Standard, this is a device that is integrated into the server and allows you to power off and restart the server as if you were stood in front of it, you can also watch and interact with the boot sequence, load virtual CD's and Floppy disks into the server from anywhere. With the purchase of an additional licence the ILO can provide keyboard and mouse interaction when the operating system has loaded, so you can be truely stood at the server keyboard from 1000's of miles away. One Observation I have of the ILO is that it can be slow for the screen to react so it is really for when all other tools such as terminal services have failed on you.

      Other areas where the manageability of HP servers shines through is the ability to carry out system firmware upgrades when the operating system is loaded, ideal if you have servers that are not close to you. HP also provide various means of configuring your server with the operating system you can use either the enclosed Smart Start CD or if you have a lot of servers to deploy there is a scripting tool kit, and for the very large enterprise there is the Rapid Deployment Kit based on Altiris Deployment Server, unfortunately this last option does require the purchase of a licence but it is well worth it if you have lots of servers.

      Bundled with every server is a copy of HP Insight manager which is a web based console that uses SNMP traps from the server it can manage you whole server and desktop estate, it is basic monitoring but for a small company is ideal.

      The support website of HP is very good and easy to navigate, that may be because I have been using it for a long time! On the site you can get copies of documentation, firmware, drivers and all the other things you require to support the server. On feature I make good use of is the automated notification for products, you can register your 'e' mail address and HP will send you an alert when there is a new drivers or firmware available for the server

      ********** Performance*************

      The DL360 is one of the low end servers from the DL range, I have deployed lots of these servers as WINS and DHCP server, they have performed exceptionally well and for the size provide compact power. We were going to consider using these for our Citrix deployment, but opted to go for blade servers instead as they provide better management of cabling etc.

      ********** Summary*************

      When I first started using these servers they were G1 versions and there was no facility to have redundant power supplies and we did suffer a number of failures of power supplies. Thankfully HP addressed this issue in the next generation model and introduced a redundant power supply. If you want to reduce the workload on your support staff then the HP Proliant server are the way to go, you will pay a premium compared to other vendors, but this additional cost is where you pay for all the tools and utilities that are bundled or available on the web.

      I don’t recommend that my company use any other vendors servers.


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