HP ProLiant DL120 G6 review

As the entry point to HP’s entire DL rack server family, the ProLiant DL120 G6 aims to provide SMBs with an affordable server that’s capable of taking on a range of roles.

It supports a single processor only, but HP offers a good range of options: you can pick from any of Intel’s quad-core 3400 Xeons or save more cash with a dual-core Celeron, Pentium or Core i3. Our review system features the 2.67GHz Xeon X3450 along with 4GB of DDR3 RDIMM memory, which can be increased to 32GB, or 16GB using cheaper UDIMMs.

Storage is limited to 3.5in hard disks, while the base model’s embedded six-port SATA controller offers striped or mirrored RAID only, and lacks hot-swap capabilities. Our review system gets around this with HP’s Smart Array P212 PCI Express card, which adds support for 6Gb/s SAS hot-swap disks and comes complete with 256MB of DDR2 cache memory. This increases your array prospects to RAID5 and 50, but you’ll need another upgrade key and the battery backup pack if you want dual-drive redundant RAID6 as well.

HP ProLiant DL120 G6

HP offers a choice of SAS, SATA and 2TB midline SATA hard disks. The latter – more commonly referred to as near-line SAS drives – are well worth considering if you want extra storage performance over standard SATA, but can’t afford the SAS price premium.

Internal expansion is quite good for a 1U rack server. The riser card at the rear of the motherboard has a PCI Express slot on each side; the one occupied by the P212 RAID card can accept a full-height, full-length card, and the other has room for a low-profile card.

Instead of HP’s standard setting iLO3 controller for remote management, you get an embedded Lights-Out 100i. It provides fewer features and lacks the iLO3’s power metering tools, but you do get a dedicated network port for management access and a tidy web browser interface. You can view the status of all components, and the platform event-filtering feature allows you to select individual components and assign actions to them. If a fan fails, for example, you can automatically switch off the server, reset it or just send an alert.

You can do all of those things remotely, too, and the price of our system includes the useful Advanced upgrade key. This costs £165 and activates virtual media services plus full KVM over IP remote control.

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