IBM System x3620 M3 review

IBM’s System x3620 M3 has a sharp focus on storage-intensive applications, but is it a better choice than HP’s versatile ProLiant DL380 G7? Dave Mitchell tests IBM’s latest 2U rack server to find out.

From the IMM interface you can monitor critical components and control power. To get KVM-over IP remote control and virtual media services you need the extra hardware key which plugs into a dedicated header on the motherboard. It costs an extra 225 ex VAT.

Unlike HP's iLO3, the IMM doesn't provide any power metering or graphing tools but these features are available in IBM's Systems Director software. The base product is freely available with all IBM servers and requires the extra Active Energy Manager plug-in.

We place IBM's Systems Director a close second to HP's Insight Control software for systems management. It's much easier to use than Dell's Management Console and provides an impressive range of tools including network discovery, server monitoring, inventory and remote update services.

The x3620 M3 has a high storage capacity and is comparatively good value. The price we've shown is IBM's estimated street price but we found a diskless system with a single E5507 Xeon, 4GB of memory and an M1015 RAID card for around 1,550 which is only slightly more than Dell's R710.

Overall, the x3620 M3 is good overall value when stacked up against HP and Dell and is a fine choice for running storage hungry applications. However, if you want more from your 2U rack server, such as four Gigabit Ethernet ports, hot-swap fans and support for SFF drives, then HP's DL380 G7 is the better choice.

So what's our verdict?

Verdict

The x3620 M3 is worth considering if storage capacity is a top priority as it can be boosted to 16TB using low-cost 3.5in SATA hard disks. HP’s DL380 G7 and Dell’s R710 can’t match this as they only support SFF disks.

Our tests show the x3620 M3 has low power usage and good deals are available providing you shop around. However, its limited features means the DL380 G7 is still our preferred choice of 2U rack server as it offers a lot more for a very similar price.

Chassis: 2U rack

CPU: 2 x 2.27GHz Intel Xeon E5507

Memory: 8GB 800MHz DDR3 expandable to 192GB

Storage: 2 x 250GB SATA hard disks in hot-swap carriers (max. 8)

RAID: IBM ServeRAID-M1015 SAS/SATA PCI Express card

Array support: RAID 0, 1, (optional RAID 5, 10 and 50)

Expansion: 3 x PCI Express

Network: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet

Power: 2 x 675W hot-plug supplies

Management: Embedded IMM with 10/100 port

Software: IBM ServerGuide 8.4, Systems Director 6.2.1

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