Dell PowerEdge R710 server review

Dell’s sleek new PowerEdge R710 aims to beat HP’s mighty ProLiant DL380 on all counts – can it match up?

Based on Symantec's Altiris Notification Server, the new Management Console takes over from Dell's elderly IT Assistant and provides the tools to manage all your IT equipment instead of just Dell servers. Installation is a lengthy process due to sheer number of components but it kicks off with automated search process which populates its database with discovered systems and SNMP enabled devices.

The Altiris agent can be pushed to selected systems and this provides enhanced inventory, system monitoring, remote management capabilities and extensive alerting facilities. However, power monitoring and management aren't as good as HP's Insight Control Suite. as this features an optional Insight Power Manager plug-in provides graphing and reporting facilities for power consumption, inlet air temperature and CPU performance.

Physically, the R710 sees a substantial redesign over the PowerEdge 2950 with the front panel covered by the menacing new grey bezel. It also has a new LCD display offering a keypad for setting the remote management network address along with views of power consumption and temperatures.

Internal storage capacity hasn't been increased over the 2950 as the R710 still supports up to eight SFF hot-swap hard disks the DL380 G6 beats this hands down as it has room for a second drive bay taking total capacity up to sixteen SFF drives. However, with an eight SFF drive or four 3.5in. drive configuration on the R710 you can use the flex bay under the LCD display and DVD-ROM drive to install an internal backup tape drive.

Plenty of RAID options are on offer with the review system coming with the full works comprising a PERC 6/i controller kitted out with 256MB of embedded cache and a battery backup unit. This supports stripes, mirrors, RAID-5, RAID-6 and hot-sparing with the controller located in a dedicated slot at the base of the right hand riser card.

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