2U Rack Servers

HP was quick to see the benefits of the smaller 2.5in. hard disks as it moved the DL380 over to these well before many other server vendors. Consequently, the front panel has a single hot-swap bay with room for no less than eight drives and a host of RAID related features. The server doesn't have an integrated controller as all storage is handled by a Smart Array 400 PCI-e card which supports the latest dual redundant RAID-6 arrays. These require a minimum of four drives as they use the capacity of two for redundancy and can survive the loss of two drives.

If you want the best management package then the DL380 G5 has to be at the top of your list as HP offers one of the best selection of tools. The bundled Systems Insight Manager suite provides enhanced browser-based remote management and monitoring which delivers high levels of information about system operations and extensive alerting facilities. You can also remotely access any HP server with an Insight agent installed.

A standard feature of virtually all ProLiant servers is the embedded iLO2 chip, which provides a secure remote browser interface with the server even when it is powered off. It's very easy to use and allows you to monitor the status of the controller and server, view installed components, access the iLO log and run diagnostics. Full access to power is also provided so you can reset the server, power it off and on and emulate pressing the power button. However, if you want full remote control this is an optional extra.

Placing the drive bay to one side has allowed HP to use the entire left side of the panel as a grill for unobstructed air flow. With the lid off you can see that the processors have been located behind this grill and each 5345 module is topped off with very sturdy heatsinks. Usefully, these are held in place by a large clamp making it far easier to remove and replace processors. Another smart feature is the new Systems Insight panel in between the grill and drive bay that provides visual cues to server operations and swift diagnostics for identifying faulty components.

For your money HP is offering a good overall specification as the price includes 8GB of memory along with six 146GB SAS drives. The only drawback of these is that total capacity is limited and, as yet, there are no 15K versions on the market. Even so, there's plenty of room inside the server to add more components as a large riser card at the back provides a good selection of PCI-e slots. There's more as HP has cunningly added a couple more slots on the motherboard alongside the riser with one occupied by the RAID card.


It's easy to see why this is one of the most popular 2U rack servers on the planet as it delivers a quality range of features, top management and extreme value.

Motherboard - HP CPU - 2 x 2.33GHz Xeon 5345 Chipset - Intel 5000P Memory - 8GB 667MHz FB-DIMMs expandable to 32GB Storage controller - no embedded controller Disk interface - SAS Disk drives 6 x 146GB HP 10K 2.5in. SAS RAID controller - HP Smart Array 400 PCI-e Expansion slots - 2 x PCI-e8X, PCI-e4X Network ports - 2 x HP Gigabit; Power - 2 x 800W Management software - HP Foundations Pack Other - network adapters TOE enabled Warranty - Three yrs on-site NBD

Dave Mitchell

Dave is an IT consultant and freelance journalist specialising in hands-on reviews of computer networking products covering all market sectors from small businesses to enterprises. Founder of Binary Testing Ltd – the UK’s premier independent network testing laboratory - Dave has over 45 years of experience in the IT industry.

Dave has produced many thousands of in-depth business networking product reviews from his lab which have been reproduced globally. Writing for ITPro and its sister title, PC Pro, he covers all areas of business IT infrastructure, including servers, storage, network security, data protection, cloud, infrastructure and services.