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HP BladeSystem c3000 review: blade server

Built like a tank and not weighing much less, this floor-standing ‘data-centre in a box’ from HP comes on wheels, much to Dave Mitchell's relief.

The high DIMM socket count means internal space is limited for storage, but HP gets round this neatly by fitting up to two SATA SSDs over the top. You can expand capacity much further by adding an SB40c storage blade in the bay below where it connects to the server blade and adds a further six SATA or SAS SFF hard disks. RAID is on the menu too although this will require an optional Smart Array P700 controller, which slots into one the pair of mezzanine card slots.

Plenty of other mezzanine card options are available as HP offers dual-port FC, iSCSI, extra Gigabit ports or Infiniband options. Standard network connections get a boost as the new blades sport an embedded dual port 10GbE Flex-10 server adapter although to take advantage of the higher speeds you'll need to fit a virtual connect Flex-10 10GbE module at the rear.

The latest BL460 G6 half-height server blade offers a similar specification to the BL490c G6 but drops the DIMM socket count to twelve enabling it to take a couple of hot-swap SFF hard disks at the front. These are managed by an embedded P410i RAID controller and the latest blades have virtualisation as a priority as they all have an internal SD memory card slot and USB port for loading embedded hypervisors.

HP hasn't been idle since its acquisition of LeftHand Networks as the c3000 can also be configured to run its SAN/iQ software. The main concept behind SAN/iQ is clustering over Ethernet, which enables you to gather together multiple physical servers and present all their storage as a single pool. We have already reviewed this and were impressed enough to give it an IT PRO Editor's Choice award.

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