HP ProLiant DL385 G5p review

£2247
Price when reviewed

HP’s latest DL385 G5p sees some major changes over the older DL385 G5 models and the reason for this is HP is aiming this specific product firmly at the server virtualisation market as it doubles memory capacity, has twice as many network ports and can handle more hard disks than its predecessor.

The front panel on the base system provides two hot-swap storage bays with room for up to four 2.5in. SFF hard disks in each. Capacity can be doubled by replacing the filler panel to the right with another set of drive bays although this will lose you the optical drive option.

If you want more capacity and fewer RAID choices HP also offers options for supporting up to six high capacity, large format SAS hard disks.

The drive backplanes are linked through to HP’s SmartArray P400 PCI-Express controller which comes with 256MB of cache memory. It supports mirrors, stripes and RAID-5 arrays but you can upgrade memory to 512MB, add a battery backup unit and bring dual-drive redundant RAID-6 into play.

Fitting the extra hard disk bay will also require a second controller to be installed as well. For virtualization you can opt for an integrated hypervisor and chose between VMware and Citrix XenServer.

The front panel shows off HP’s Insight Display which provides a handy at-a-glance status report on the server. Similar to IBM’s Light Path Diagnostics, as it has LEDs for the power supplies, processors, memory banks and fans making it simple to see precisely what component has failed.

HP has been busy with the interior decoration as it has completely revamped the internal layout. Most noticeable is the massive metal plate that covers the entire motherboard.

This is used to fit riser cards to provide a selection of expansion slot choices. You start with a single riser offering a couple of PCI-Express slots and you can add a second riser and bring the slot count up to six.

The expansion cage takes a while to shift as it’s held down with a collection of plastic clips and thumbscrews and underneath you have the two processor sockets each accompanied by eight DIMM sockets. The price only includes a single 2.4GHz Opteron module and the whole assembly is covered in a large clamping mechanism which holds the heatsinks firmly in place.

The review system comes with a modest 2GB of 800MHz DDR2 memory but total capacity goes up to 128GB and the server supports HP’s basic 2:1 memory interleaving which only requires pairs of identical memory modules. With more memory you can use HP’s bank interleaving which stripes data across two pairs of DIMMs or node interleaving where this occurs across memory sets on each processor.

For single processor models cooling is handled by four fans located in front of the motherboard and adding a second processor requires two more hot-swap fans to be added in the spare bays. Overall noise levels for the system on review were impressively low with the server barely audible from a few feet away.

Two hot-plug power supplies are supported but when compared with the latest Xeon 5500 equipped systems we found power usage to be high. Our in-line meter recorded the server drawing 15W in standby, 132W with the OS in idle and 188W with SiSoft Sandra stressing the four processor cores. Take Dell’s new PowerEdge R610 as even with dual E5530 processors, six times as much DDR3 memory and both power supplies this pulled only 144W in idle and 260W under full load.

For remote management the server has HP’s embedded iLO2 chip which offers a dedicated Fast Ethernet port at the rear and a tidy web interface which provides plenty of control over the server. You can reset the server, power it off and on and emulate pressing the power button. iLO2 provides tools for monitoring the status of the controller or server and viewing installed components.

Warranty

Warranty 3yr on-site next business day

Ratings

Physical

Server format Rack
Server configuration 2U

Processor

CPU family AMD Opteron
CPU nominal frequency 2.40GHz
Processors supplied 1
CPU socket count 2

Memory

RAM capacity 128GB
Memory type DDR2

Storage

Hard disk configuration 3 x 36GB 10k disks in hot-swap carriers
Total hard disk capacity 108
RAID module HP Smart Array P400
RAID levels supported 0, 1, 5, JBOD

Networking

Gigabit LAN ports 4
ILO? yes

Motherboard

Conventional PCI slots total 0
PCI-E x8 slots total 2
PCI-E x4 slots total 0
PCI-E x1 slots total 0

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 132W
Peak power consumption 188W

Software

OS family None

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