Evesham SilverEDGE 1050AL and 2000AL review
Over the past few months, we’ve brought you first looks at the latest dual-core Xeon-equipped servers, and now Intel itself comes under the spotlight with its own white-box rack servers. Evesham Technology offers up two variants on the theme: the first is the SilverEDGE 1050AL, a slimline package that comes with an Intel 5150 processor in the driving seat and puts a serious storage proposition on the table. The SilverEDGE 2000AL ups the size from 1U to 2U, but supports 3.5in disks compared to the 2.5in disks inside the 1050AL.
The 1050AL comprises Intel’s SR1550ALSAS server platform. The chassis is reasonably well built and storage options abound, as the front panel is home to six 2.5in hot-swap drive bays. These accept SAS or SATA hard disks, and the system came with a quartet of 73GB Fujitsu 10K SAS drives, making it look particularly good value.
Internal design is tidy, with all cabling kept to a minimum and tucked up out of the airflow. The motherboard has an embedded SATA controller, but the drive bays are serviced by a separate mid-plane board. This provides the SAS services and uses a bridge board to connect to a proprietary socket on the motherboard. It also comes with an embedded RAID controller and a Mini-DIMM socket for cache memory.
The two processor sockets are located to the side, with the single 5150 module equipped with a solid copper heatsink. Cooling is dealt with by five dual-rotor fans, which are clearly efficient at shifting large volumes of air but also generate excessive noise levels. Further back is a row of eight memory sockets, and the server was kitted out with a decent 2GB of fully buffered memory. Expansion options are good, as the vertical riser card has a PCI Express 4x slot on each side and supports a half-height and a full-height card. Fault tolerance extends to power, and the system came with two hot-swap supplies.
It may use the same motherboard as the 1050AL, but the SilverEDGE 2000AL is aimed at those businesses that want maximum performance and more capacity from their storage subsystem. As such, the chassis provides hot-swap drive bays that can handle larger 3.5in hard disks, and the system came with four 73GB Fujitsu 15k SAS models. The chassis supports five drives and has a flex-bay that requires an optional kit to support a sixth hard disk, but is also designed to accept a tape drive.
Internal layout is just as tidy, and the processors are partnered by six 80mm radial fans, which also produce high noise levels. The larger 2U chassis makes its presence felt in the expansion department, as the extra height allows the riser card to provide a single PCI-X and four PCI Express slots. Power fault tolerance also comes into the picture, as the system was delivered with a pair of 700W hot-swap supplies.
Server management is a notable feature of both new SilverEDGE offerings, as Intel now bundles its Active System Console and LANDesk System Manager utility as part of its server platform. The former provides a smartly designed web interface with easy access to areas such as temperatures, voltages, fan speeds, hard disk space and CPU status. Each value can be assigned an upper and lower threshold, and if breached can cause an email or SNMP trap alert to be issued. LANDesk is capable of monitoring multiple servers from a single core server. This allows you to keep an eye on the environmental value of all systems from a central location, and you can create alerting tasks to warn of any problems. It requires an agent installed on each system, but with this in place you can closely monitor performance, collect historical data and maintain detailed hardware inventories.