IT Pro Verdict
The CyberServe X55-RS500 shows clearly that Asus is starting to take its rack servers a lot more seriously. Remote management, expansion and RAID options see significant improvements and although the specification in the review system is basic it does look very good value. The price also includes a full three-year NBD warranty but areas that could be improved are additional support for SFF hard disks and power redundancy.
EXCLUSIVE: The lion's share of the worldwide server market may be split between HP, Dell and IBM but a small number of Taiwanese manufacturers are upping their game in an attempt to capture more customers.
The economic downturn may well be playing into their hands as some cash strapped IT departments are having to re-evaluate their relationships with Tier-1 vendors and are shopping around for lower cost alternatives.
Asus has traditionally offered a large server portfolio but features, build quality and management facilities have always been second rate when compared with the blue chips. However, the past few months have seen a radical shift in design and in this exclusive review of Broadberry's CyberServe X55-RS500 we see what Asus has to offer.
The server comprises Asus' RS500-E6/PS4 rack solution, which amalgamates its 1U chassis with a Z8NR-D12 rack optimised motherboard. We were advised by Broadberry that it chose this platform for its expansion capabilities, management features, RAID options and value. Coming in at a snip over a grand, the server certainly satisfies the last criteria but how well does it score for the rest?
The chassis is well built and offers four hot-swap drive bays at the front with the review system supplied with a pair of 500GB SATA drives. However, the lack of support for smaller 2.5in. SFF hard disks is a concern and is something many Taiwanese manufacturers really need to address.
The smaller drives may still be short on capacity but you can pack more into the server so increasing your RAID options. Their lower power consumption is also a bonus making them far better suited for rack dense server rooms. Take a look at Dell's PowerEdge R610 or HP's ProLiant DL360 G6 and you'll see these servers don't even support 3.5in. drives anymore.
With the lid out of the way the CyberServe presents a tidy interior affording easy access to all key components. The pair of processor sockets is located in the centre of the motherboard with dedicated banks of six DIMM sockets on each side.
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.