Dell Poweredge 2600 Server Reviews
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Comments about Dell Poweredge 2600 Server:
The branch server is now as ubiquitous as the cash register in most branch offices and convenience stores. They are most often stuck in a back room, or worse, a closet with poor ventilation, lighting and room. The branch server is often overlooked and overworked, and yet it is as vital to any operation as a well pampered Network Operations Center (NOC) server. The business I work for has a multitude of branch servers scattered throughout the Chicagoland area, most connected via T1 lines. I have worked with all manner of server from all of the major server vendors; *IBM, Hewlett Packard, and Dell*, and all offer a variety of servers to fit individual needs, but Dell seems to offer the largest variety of multi-purpose server, including the flexible 5U Tower workhorse, and predecessor of the *Dell PowerEdge 2800*, the *Dell ***PowerEdge 2600. **
Like the more capable *PE 2800*, Dell designed the **PE 2600** for high-availability, 24/7 network operations. The 5U free standing tower and rack mountable, six drive server, features dual Intel Xeon III processors (featuring hyper-threading technology) with a 533MHz Front Side Bus (FSB), up to 512MB of L2, and 2MB of L3 cache.
The **PE 2600** is the perfect back-office computing solution with its focus on file and print operations. However the **PE 2600** is also ideally suited for use as a Windows 2000/2003 domain controller and or Web server and is flexible enough to be utilized as a small database server, or *Microsoft Small Business Server*.
Dell outfitted the **PE 2600** with Intel's advanced E7501 chipset that provides a maximum bandwidth of 3.2GB/s on a 533MHz bus. The extreme versatility of the chipset allows it to support DDR, PCI Express serial I/O technology, as well as Hyper Threading technology. The chipset also offers two-way memory interleaving enabling memory to be added in identical pairs.
With (7) overall expansion slots; and numerous embedded features, you can deploy the **PE 2600** in a configuration that supports a wide range of workloads either in a data center, or as a stand alone server, including connections to a fiber-channel backbone and optional external SCSI backup drives. Additionally, the **PE 2600 **server offers an embedded dual channel *PERC4/Di RAID* subsystem Ultra320 SCSI controller that supports up to eight internal SCSI drives (six native 1" SCSI drive bay and two optional drive bays). The controller contains 128MB of battery-backed cache that allows data to be written to a disk even in the event of power outage.
Hard drive capacity is broken down by the following: 36GB - 146GB (Ultra320 SCSI) at 10,000 rpm, and 18GB - 73GB (Ultra320 SCSI) at 15,000 rpm. RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 or 50 is supported for data redundancy.
We currently have (42) **PE 2600 **servers** **installed in various branches throughout the organization. We utilize the servers in a production environment acting as file and print servers as well as DHCP servers at our branch locations. All of the server run *Microsoft Windows 2003 Standard Edition*. However, because the **PE 2600** is highly scalable, the box could just as easily be used as a enterprise application, or specialized server such as a *Windows 2003* domain controller, SQL database server, mail server, or a Web backend application server.
The two single-core, or hyper-treading processors coupled with fast RAM and 10K or 15K SCSI hard drives make the **PE 2600** a performance workhorse. Actual, real world throughput (file transfers to and from the server), is outstanding, especially when it comes to serving up SQL derived data. The **PE 2600**'s in our inventory are all at the top of the performance curve, and they are dependable and boost enough power to meet all of current and future application needs. To date we have had very few issues with the servers.
**Dell Open Manage**
A word or two more about Dell's suburb *OpenManage* management server solution is in order. As I briefly touched on above, the utility, which ships with every Dell server, allows to you, the administrator, to completely setup and configure the **PE 2600**. This is accomplished via three easy-to-use toolsets for setting up, configuring, troubleshooting, and managing the **PE 2800**. The Server Assistant is a bootable CD with the now familiar wizards that walk you through every step during setup and configuration process allowing you configure the RAID array and then install your OS, as well as load the latest drivers for your server's network cards and RAID controllers. **Note:** the RAID configuration can also be set during the server's normal boot routine, but I have it easier and more time efficient to use *OpenManage* to configure the RAID array.
The second tool the *Dell Open Manager Server Administrator* tool which is installed after you install the OS-lets you monitor the server's health, update firmware, and identify all hardware and configuration information via a Web browser interface. **Note:** the installation of *Dell Server Administrator* will require the installation of Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS), if it is installed on a *Microsoft Windows* platform. As I stated above, Version 5.0 is the latest iteration of the software tool and will require Windows 2003 SP 1 before you install it.
The third tool is *Dell's IT Assistant*, a utility that allows you to configure hardware and software across the network from a remote console, or centralized *IT Assist* server. *IT Assist* integrates with Dell's ERA (Embedded Remote Access) module, which eliminates the need for an additional Ethernet card or modem for server access.
Using ERA, an administrator can power up/down a remote system, view all 80 sensors in the server, send and receive system alerts, remotely boot the server, and troubleshoot the server with the aid of up to 16 other administrators logged in simultaneously. *IT Assist* with ERA is a very powerful tool for managing a Dell-centric server farm.
If you are looking for a stand-a-lone reliable, (very) versatile, powerful and reasonably priced file or application server (these babies can still be had used), the large-footprint (5U), free standing (Tower) Dell **PowerEdge 2600** Small-to-Medium-sized business server might be what you have been looking for.