We found it tricky to differentiate between the 2U Xeon 5500 servers reviewed here. Although there were minor differences, which we've pointed out in the reviews, the basic specifications were very similar: the same Intel chipset was employed in each case, along with dual processor sockets and — with just one exception (the IBM/Lenovo server) — the same RAM capacity. Storage options were also much the same, remote management was built in and the option to add an embedded hypervisor was, similarly, available across the board.
We didn't run any performance tests, for two reasons: first, the capabilities of these servers are far beyond any workloads we could realistically throw at them; and second, given their similarities it's safe to assume there wouldn't be much in it. Moreover, with a wide choice of processor model and other options, you can configure any of these servers to suit a wide variety of applications.
For a long time now it's been pretty rare for a server vendor to leap ahead of the pack in any significant way. Prices are much the same too. As a result, buying a server is now more a matter of choosing a vendor or reseller with whom you're happy to deal or with whom you have an existing relationship. It's also important to compare the levels of service on offer, along with the extras — bundled and optional — such as management tools, and complementary networking and storage solutions.
Bearing all of these factors in mind, HP and the new ProLiant DL380 G6 are a hard act to beat — all the more so given the services, software and other products that can be wrapped around HP and its resellers' offerings.
We have therefore given the Editors' Choice award to the HP ProLiant DL380 G6. That said, Dell continues to chip away at HP's dominance in the server market, and its PowerEdge R710 runs the DL380 close. We were also very impressed by the Sun Fire X4270/X4275 — our only real concern with Sun is what might happen to the company once the Oracle takeover is finalised.
HP's ProLiant DL380 G6 wins a close race for the Editors' Choice award in ZDNet UK's Xeon 5500 2U rack server group test.