Dell PowerEdge 6850 Server Reviews
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***Bottom-Line***: If you are looking for a powerful, reliable, versatile, reasonably priced file server, the medium-footprint Dell **PowerEdge 6850** Enterprise-class** **application server will most certainly fit the bill.
A business, any business, runs on information, and applications, internal and external. Increasingly applications-especially those offered by external vendors-have become more and more complicated, and need to be phased into the production environment over time, taking into account the applications affect on the current environment. This means testing the application before it enters production. More applications mean more testing; we recently started testing x64-bit servers and applications and use Microsoft's *Virtual Server 2005R2 x64-bit* to simulate our production environment of the future. But 64-bit application need a powerful x64-bit server to run in a virtualized environment; enter the *Dell ***PowerEdge 6850** 4U rack mountable server.
**The Server: **
The *Dell* **PowerEdge 6850** is the rack mount version of the *Dell* **PowerEdge 6800**, which is a 7U tower server box. The *Dell* **PE 6850** was designed as** **a general purpose highly available, high performance application and or database server, with a sweet combination of power processing and storage capacity. The **PE 6850** server supports up to four 64-bit Intel Xeon dual-core 7100 processors with processor clock speeds of up to 3.0GHz with a 800MHz FSB and up to 16MB of L3 level cache per processor. The **PE 6850** features the Intel 8501 chipset that supports four hot-plug PCI Express and three 64-bit PCI-X slots, and a maximum 64GB of DDR400 SDRAM in sixteen slots, as well as embedded dual-channel RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Drives) Ultra320 SCSI drive controller.
Access to the innards of the server is amazingly simple; the top cover-in two pieces-comes completely off the unit exposing the motherboard, processor assemblies, RAM slots, and other electronics. The RAM is situated at the front of the server on the left hand side, in two riser cards witch hold 32GB each. Directly behind the RAM riser cards are four processors complete with heat sinks. The processors snap in and out with ease.
The **PE 6850** is capable of housing a large variety of hard drives: up to five hot-pluggable (swappable), 3.5 inch SCSI Ultra320 hard drives in sizes ranging from 36GB - 300GB for up to 1.5TB of storage. This can further be broken down thusly: 73GB - 300GB (Ultra320 SCSI) at 10,000 rpm, and 36GB - 146GB (Ultra320 SCSI) at 15,000 rpm.
The **PE 6850** also supports Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) hard drives in a large variety of configurations, including: up to five hot-pluggable 3.5 inch SCSI Ultra320 hard drives in sizes ranging from 36GB - 300GB for up to 1.5TB of storage. This can further be broken down thusly: 73GB - 300GB (Ultra320 SCSI) at 10,000 rpm, and 36GB - 146GB (Ultra320 SCSI) at 15,000 rpm. In addition the **PE 6850** also supports up to (8) 2.5 inch 36GB and 73GB SAS drives for a maximum storage capacity of 584GB.
Dell has given the **PE 6850** many distinctive design features that make the server easy to deploy, service, and manage locally or remotely, thereby lowering the total cost of ownership, or TOC. The **PE 6850** features a tool-less chassis, which enables you to quickly and simply reach components for easy maintenance; the motherboard for instance can be completely swapped out in under a ten minutes. Dell's *Open Manage* suite of software enhances manageability, from initial server start-up through everyday operations by allowing for server hardware management via a web interface. Combining performance, availability and configuration flexibility, the **PE 6850** server is an ideal solution for small-to-medium businesses where space might be a consideration, and remote sites that require robust internal storage, PCI expandability and high availability features.
**Installation and Performance:**
Our **PE 6850 **server arrived configured as follows:
Processor(s): (4) Intel Xeon dual-core 7100 sequence @ 2.8GHz/16MB Level 3 ECC Cache/ 800MHz Bus.
- Memory: 32GB DDR400 SDRAM 400MHz
- Hard Drive(s): 1 X 73.2GB 15K RPM Ultra 320 SCSI Hard Drive (this server will be SAN-Attached).
- Hard Drive Controller: PERC5e/Di 128MB (1 Internal Channel).
- Floppy Disk Drive: Floppy Drive,1.44M, TEAC2.
- NIC: (2) embedded Broadcom Gigabit Base T Network Adapters.
- Video: Integrated ATI Radeon 7000 controller 16MB SDRAM
- CD-ROM Drive: 24X IDE DVD/CD-RW Drive for PowerEdge Servers.
- USB Ports: (2) Front, (4) rear
To date I have installed (racked) and configured (1) **PE 6850 **server; it is now part of the businesses software development/test lab, however the business does plan to purchase more **PE 6850's **to replace our aging complement of *PowerEdge 6600* series servers. This sever is SAN-attached and as I mentioned above has *Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 Enterprise R2* installed. However, because the **PE 6850 **is highly scalable, the box could just as easily be used as a departmental file, or specialized server such as a database server, or a Web backend application server.
The four dual core processors coupled with fast RAM and 15K SCSI and or SAS hard drives, or Fiber-channel array make the **PE 6850 **a performance star.
If you are looking for a reliable, versatile, powerful and reasonably priced application server, the medium-footprint Dell **PowerEdge 6850** Enterprise-class** **application server will most certainly fit the bill.