HP ProLiant SL2x170z G6 review

HP is the first of the blue-chips to move into the multi-node server market and in this exclusive review we see whether it sets the standard for the rest to follow.

We found the remote control upgrade is well worth having as it comes into its own during OS installation. Each node must be booted with the supplied Easy Setup CD which provides wizard assistance but to use a USB optical drive you'll need to drop the mouse as each node only has two USB ports.

Initially, we encountered a problem when trying to install an OS on each node as none of them could see their associated hard disk. The system had been supplied with all drives connected to the sixth SATA port and we found the solution by moving the drive to the first port. As far as we can see, although each node has six SATA ports, only the first four are active.

The DL2x170z achieves its aims with power frugality with the review system measured at 19W in standby. We then powered each node up and took measurements with them running in idle and with SiSoft Sandra pushing all cores on each one to near maximum utilisation.

In idle we saw one, two, three and four nodes draw a total of 90W, 142W, 195W and 242W and under pressure these figures peaked at 132W, 220W, 312W and 408W respectively. Each node did have a minimal specification but, nonetheless, this is still low when compared with four separate servers.

The lack of storage redundancy for each node is an issue but the SL2x170z is good value and achieves its aims of lowering power consumption for rack cabinets. Overall build quality is good and the trays are hot-swappable making it a lower cost alternative to blade servers.


The SL6000 family offers an interesting alternative for businesses that don’t want to invest in blade servers. It consumes far less power than a quartet of standalone servers and provides a high processing density for racks although the nodes could do with SFF drive support to provide storage redundancy.

Chassis: 2U ProLiant z6000 G6 rack Power: 1 x 750W hot-plug supply (max 2) Server nodes: 4 (each with the following spec) CPU: 2.26GHz E5520 Xeon Memory: 6GB 1066MHz DDR3 UDIMM Storage: 160GB SATA 7.2K hard disk in quick release cold-swap carriers RAID: Embedded HP Smart Array B110i Array support: RAID0, 1, 10 (cold-swap SATA) Expansion: PCI-e 2.0 slot Network: 2x Gigabit Management: HP Lights Out 100i Software: HP Easy Set-Up CD and HP System Management Homepage Options: Lights-Out upgrade, £165 ex VAT

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.