Dell PowerEdge T710 review
The focus may be on rack systems for server virtualisation and consolidation duties, but Dell’s PowerEdge T710 aims to offer a floor-standing alternative for businesses that have no desire for a rack cabinet. Here, we take a look at the largest pedestal server in Dell’s 11th-generation family.
The T710’s chassis is 70cm deep, and Dell has put this internal real-estate to good use. Storage options are plentiful, as behind the gun-metal bezel you have a pair of drive bays each holding eight hot-swap SFF SAS/SATA hard disks.
The system came supplied with eight 146GB SAS SFF drives, and Dell offers cage options for a total of eight 3.5in drives as well; SSDs are also available. RAID choices are good, although Dell’s web page listing the myriad choices is somewhat confusing.
The entry-level SAS 6/iR card supports mirrors and stripes for up to eight SATA and SAS 3.5in drives. You’ll need the PERC 6/i controller if you have more than eight drives, they’re the SFF variety, and you want RAID5 and 6 array support. Dell also advised us that the T710 now supports the latest 6Gbits/sec SAS hard disks.
The sturdy side panel is lockable, which stops the front panel being removed, thus blocking access to both drive bays. The server also comes as standard with an LCD panel and keypad for setting the remote management network address, along with views of power consumption and temperatures.
The cable-free design makes for a tidy interior. The two processor sockets are staggered down the motherboard with the pair of Xeon E5540 modules in the review system mounted by large passive heatsinks. Each processor is partnered by nine DIMM sockets, allowing the server to support up to 144GB of RDIMM or 24GB of UDIMM memory.
The lower half of the motherboard is covered by a plastic shroud for improved air flow, and a single release clip makes for easy removal. At the back are four hot-swap fans and, along with the power supply fan, noise levels are high when compared to Dell’s 11g rack servers. It isn’t overly intrusive, but we wouldn’t want the T710 sitting next to our desk in a quiet office.
Expansion options abound as you have six PCI Express slots at the top of the motherboard. The T710 is a good candidate for virtualisation, as along with the quartet of Gigabit ports, it has Dell’s SD memory card slot and 1GB card for booting into an embedded hypervisor.
For remote management, the base server offers an embedded BMC and Dell’s iDRAC 6 Express card, which shares the first network port to provide web browser access to the server. If you want the KVM over IP and virtual media features, go for the iDRAC 6 Enterprise version.
This fits into a proprietary socket on the motherboard and presents a dedicated network management port at the rear. It also has a V-Flash media slot, and when an SD card is inserted it appears as a boot option and can also be accessed from the host operating system.
Either way, you get Dell’s Lifecycle Controller, which provides 1GB of NVRAM memory for storing drivers and other software for immediate access. You can boot the server directly from this controller, which loads Dell’s UEFI (unified extensible firmware interface) environment complete with GUI and support for mouse and keyboard.
It provides access to OS deployment tools, so you don’t need to boot the server with Dell’s Server Assistant disk. The UEFI offers a deployment wizard, where you enter your details and leave the server to install your chosen OS.
|Warranty||3yr on-site NBD|
|Server configuration||Pedestal chassis|
|CPU family||Intel Xeon|
|CPU nominal frequency||2.53GHz|
|CPU socket count||2|
|Hard disk configuration||8 x 146GB Seagate Savvio 10K.3 SFF SAS hard disks in hot-swap carriers|
|Total hard disk capacity||1,168|
|RAID module||Dell PERC 6/i|
|RAID levels supported||0, 1, 10, 5, 6|
|Gigabit LAN ports||4|
|Power supply rating||1,100W|
Noise and power
|Idle power consumption||150W|
|Peak power consumption||296W|