- Upgradeable to quad-core processors
- Plenty of scope for expansion
- Up to 64GB of RAM and 2TB of disk space
- Integrated lights-out remote management
- Noisy fans
The first thing you notice about the HP ProLiant ML370 G5 is its size. It’s massive, with room for not just the latest dual-core Xeon processors but enough memory, storage and other options to suit a wide range of applications. Because it’s very solidly built, the huge desk-side tower housing the ML370 is extremely heavy, requiring two people to lift it. It can also be rack mounted if required, although it ends up 5U high and the rack would need to be well anchored to prevent it tipping — especially if you choose any of the optional extras. Our review model, for example, came with a redundant second power supply and an additional bank of hot-swap fans. You can also add a lot of storage, making for a very heavy and, at times, quite noisy system.
Still, all that bulk means plenty of space to configure the server to your exact requirements, starting with processors. As with the Dell PowerEdge1950, HP now supports the latest Intel dual-core Xeon 'Woodcrest' chips, and our review system came with a single Xeon 5140 clocked at 2.33MHz with a 1333MHz frontside bus (FSB). However, you can choose from a variety of Xeon 5000 and 5100-series chips and fit up to two on the Intel motherboard to suit a wide range of applications.
Quad-core chips are also available for the ML370 G5. Note, though, that as on the Dell PowerEdge 1950, the faster processors can push the price up significantly so it’s worth making sure that any performance gains will actually be exploited and that the rest of the configuration is up to the job.
Similar comments apply when it comes to memory: specifying more than you need will be costly and pointless unless you expect demand to grow in the future. Our review server came with 2GB, which is a good starting point; fully buffered DDR2 DRAM is used throughout, and there's support for ECC, online sparing and memory mirroring for maximum availability. You can also specify an optional second memory board, taking the maximum RAM capacity up to 64GB. This is double the amount that the 1U PowerEdge 1950 can handle, and is great for data-intensive database servers.
The massive tower chassis provides plenty of room for storage. There are eight 2.5in. hot-swap drive bays on the review machine, but these only take up half of the available space set. Another set can also be configured with Serial Attached SCSI (SAS), which is the preferred technology here, HP having recently announced its intention to standardise on 2.5in. SAS disks across the ProLiant family. An integrated RAID controller comes as standard, while a variety of others can be specified to fit into the two PCI-X and six free PCI Express expansion slots, plus a huge number of external storage options.
For this review, HP provided a pair of 36GB 10,000rpm drives, but 72GB and 146GB disks are also available, giving a maximum internal capacity of over 2TB, depending on the level of RAID protection configured. SATA disks can also be specified, although 60GB drives are the only option in this case. However, on this kind of server, most buyers will opt for SAS.
A Gigabit Ethernet server adapter with built-in TCP offload engine is integrated onto the motherboard, and this could be used for connecting to an iSCSI SAN. The ML370 G5 server also gets a new integrated Lights-Out (iLO) remote management processor, adding virtual KVM and power management facilities that enable the ProLiant server to be controlled remotely via a Web browser. Remote management, of course, is also possible using a variety of tools, some of which are included as standard, with others being optional extras.
Finally, the HP hardware is fully certified for all the leading Windows, Linux and Unix operating system implementations. These can also be preinstalled along with selected applications configured to customer specifications, although the range and cost of such services is likely to differ depending on the reseller or system integrator involved.
We were very impressed with what the new ML370 G5 has to offer. It’s perhaps a little over the top for basic file and print sharing, but as a database server or as an ERP platform in a larger company it’s got everything you might need, and then some.
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