Dell PowerEdge C6100 review

The PowerEdge C6100 is Dell's best-selling cloud server system. In this exclusive review, Dave Mitchell takes a closer look at this multi-node, rack dense system to find out why.

The nodes have a PCI Express X16 riser for general expansion and a mezzanine slot for Dell's optional Infiniband, RAID or 10-Gigabit cards. You may need to use one as the embedded ICH10R SATA controller doesn't have any RAID options.

If you want RAID, Dell offers an LSI 6Gbit/s SAS mezzanine card which supports mirrors and stripes or an LSI MegaRAID SAS PCI-E card which adds RAID 5 and 6 to the mix. The backplane itself supports both SATA and 6Gbit/s SAS disks. For the latter the backplane has separate four-port mini-SAS connectors for each node that are cabled directly to the cards.

The chassis includes a power throttling feature designed to protect the system and running services.

Along with sharing out the disk bays to each node, the chassis incorporates a pair of 1100W hot-plug power supplies. Power is rerouted through the same backplane as the disks so the nodes receive all storage and power services via a single edge connector.

Dell also offers 470W, 750W and 1400W supply options and the chassis includes a power throttling feature designed to protect the system and running services. If consumption exceeds the output of one supply then redundancy cannot be maintained if one supply fails.

In this event, the system will throttle back power consumption of the processors on all nodes to stay within its power budget. Once the errant supply has been replaced, it'll return the nodes to full speed. To reduce consumption further, the supplies don't have any internal fans and rely on the four main system fans behind the backplane for cooling.

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.