HP ProLiant DL380 G6 review

£3583
Price when reviewed

HP claims its ProLiant DL380 is the world’s best-selling server, so the new sixth generation of its 2U rack system has an enviable tradition to live up to. Naturally, the DL380 G6 supports Intel’s new 5500 Series Xeon processors, so you get a heap of new features such as QPI, Hyper-Threading, Turbo Boost and support for DDR3 memory. See our exclusive in-depth coverage for the lowdown on these technologies.

In terms of storage capacity, the hot-swap bay supports up to eight SFF SAS and SATA hard disks. RAID sees some big improvements, with the new embedded P410i controller offering a pair of SAS ports on the motherboard. Our review unit included a 256MB cache module that fits in a dedicated slot and adds support for RAID5. Go for the optional software key and you can bring robust dual-drive RAID6 into the mix.

A second eight-drive bay can be added at the front, and you have two options for connecting it. A SAS expander card attaches to the embedded ports and increases support to 24 drives. It also has an extra 4x mini-SAS port, allowing a SAS tape drive to be connected. Alternatively, you can install an extra P410 RAID controller card to support the second bay.

HP has been busy redesigning the server’s innards and the motherboard is now covered by a massive metal plate. This is used to fit riser cards to provide a selection of expansion slot choices. You start with a single riser offering three PCI Express slots and you can add a second to bring the slot count up to six. The network port count also goes up since the motherboard sports a pair of embedded dual-port Gigabit adapters.

The processor sockets are each accompanied by a bank of nine dedicated DIMM sockets. The price includes a single 2.4GHz E5530 module, and the whole processor assembly is covered in a large clamping mechanism that holds the heatsinks firmly in place.

For virtualisation HP takes a similar tack to Dell, as the DL380 has an embedded SD memory card slot on the motherboard that can be used to boot up embedded hypervisors.

Power fault tolerance is available, as the DL380 supports two hot-plug supplies and HP proudly claims the DL360 and DL380 G6 as the only servers currently in the Energy Star program. HP’s Thermal Logic uses up to 32 sensors to monitor and report on power consumption, and the supplies share a common slot type so you can choose from three different output models.

HP has done a good job reducing power demands, with our inline power meter recording a draw of only 8W in standby and 97W with Windows Server 2003 R2 running in idle. With SiSoft Sandra pushing all eight logical cores to the max, it peaked at only 154W.

In single-processor systems cooling is handled by four hot-swap fans, which are upgraded to six for dual processors. Sensors control fan speeds carefully and we were impressed with the low noise levels, as the review system was almost silent during testing.

For local and remote server management HP hasn’t made the sweeping changes we’ve seen with Dell’s new servers. The motherboard sports HP’s trusty iLO2 chip, which offers a dedicated Fast Ethernet port at the rear and a secure web interface that provides good monitoring facilities and plenty of remote control over the server.

it_photo_32360HP’s Insight Control Suite (ICS) software delivers excellent browser-based remote server monitoring. Any HP server with an Insight agent can be accessed remotely and it provides detailed reports on system operations, asset management, options to remotely upgrade firmware and the ability to set alerting thresholds on components.

Warranty

Warranty 3yr on-site next business day

Ratings

Physical

Server format Rack
Server configuration 2U

Processor

CPU family Intel Xeon
CPU nominal frequency 2.40GHz
Processors supplied 1
CPU socket count 2

Memory

Memory type DDR3

Storage

Hard disk configuration 3 x 72GB HP SASS SFF 15k hard disks in hot-swap carriers
Total hard disk capacity 216
RAID module HP embedded Smart Array P410i
RAID levels supported 0, 1, 10, 5

Networking

Gigabit LAN ports 4
ILO? yes

Motherboard

Conventional PCI slots total 0
PCI-E x16 slots total 0
PCI-E x8 slots total 0
PCI-E x4 slots total 3
PCI-E x1 slots total 0

Power supply

Power supply rating 460W

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 97W
Peak power consumption 154W

Software

OS family None

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