HP ProLiant DL580 G7 review

It’s been a long wait but HP finally makes its entrance into the Xeon 7500 server market. The new ProLiant DL580 G7 looks good value, but how does it stack up against servers from IBM, Dell and Fujitsu? Read this exclusive review to find out.

There isn't much room left in the front of the server but HP has managed to squeeze in eight SFF hot-swap disk bays. We were supplied with two 300GB 6Gbps SAS drives but HP also offers near-line SAS models so you can focus on capacity and price rather than performance. Limited storage capacity is one of HP's weaknesses as you can't expand beyond eight internal drive bays. This is the same as for Fujitsu's RX600 S5 but both Dell's R910 and IBM's x3850 have enough room for up to sixteen SFF drives.

Pushing all the processors and memory up to the front of the server leaves a lot of space round back and HP has put it to very good use as expansion potential is the best of all. The drawer mates with a power distribution connector and a horizontal system board which takes up half the width of the chassis.

The system board has a dedicated slot for a vertical SPI board packed with masses of embedded features. It has a Smart Array P410i RAID controller and cache memory slot with a pair of SAS ports cabled directly to the drive backplane.

The review system included 1GB of HP's flash-backed write cache and the battery backup pack. The P410i supports mirrors, stripes and RAID-5 as standard and an advanced license pack adds RAID-6 support.

The SPI board has four Gigabit Ethernet ports and has a separate expansion slot for HP's dual port 10-Gigabit SFP module. Adding this upgrades the first two Ethernet ports to 10-Gigabit status without using a standard expansion slot.

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.