When you open the door to any modern Network Operations Center (NOC) and you are liable to find all manner of rack mounted servers contently humming away within. From the small 1U's to the power hungry and space happy 6U's servers are the life's blood of the NOC; in fact they are the only reason such facilities exist at all. 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 rack mountable boxes, including another 2U workhorse, the *Dell ***PowerEdge 2650** rack mountable server. Dell designed the **PE 2650** for high-availability, 24/7 NOC operations. The 2U rack mountable, five drive server, features dual Intel Xeon processors with a 533MHz Front Side Bus (FSB), and up to 2MB of L2 level cache. The **PE 2650** is well suited for computing and memory-intensive applications, such as databases and web-based application like *Microsoft's SharePoint Portal Server*. Dell outfitted the **PE 2650** with the advanced *ServerWorks Grand Champion-LE* (GC-LE) chipset that provides a highly respectable 4.2GB/s of memory bandwidth and up to 3.8GB/s of throughput on a five PCI bus segment architecture. In addition, the chipset supports 2:1 memory interleaving the memory. The **PE 2650** also incorporates high bandwidth PCI-X slots (two 64-bit/100 MHz, one 64-bit/133 MHz), dual Gigabit1 network interface cards (NIC's) for built-in load balancing, as well as high-speed double data rate (DDR) memory banks that support up to 12GB of error-correcting code (ECC) SDRAM in six slots all on a 64-bit dedicated bus. With three open PCI-X slots and numerous embedded features, you can deploy the **PE 2650** in a configuration that supports a wide range of workloads in a data center, including connections to a fiber-channel backbone and optional external SCSI backup drives. Additionally, the **PE 2650** server offers an embedded dual channel *PERC3/Di RAID* subsystem Ultra3 (U160) SCSI controller that supports up to five internal SCSI drives. The controller contains 128MB of battery-backed cache that allows data to be written to a disk even in the event of power outage. The split backplane design incorporated into the **PE 2650** offers considerable configuration flexibility. For instance, you can configure different RAID configurations; e.g. two hard drives set up for RAID (1) to mirror the operating system for redundancy; and RAID (5) for the remaining three drives. Furthermore, the **PE 2650's** five hot-plug SCSI hard drives allow up to 730GB of internal storage if (5) 146GB drives are used. Hard drive capacity is broken down by the following: 36GB - 146GB (Ultra320 SCSI) at 10,000 rpm, and 18GB - 146GB (Ultra320 SCSI) at 15,000 rpm. RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 or 50 is supported for data redundancy. Like all Dell PowerEdge servers, the **PE 2650** has an LCD panel on the front to display messages from the system backplane or the Dell OpenManage software suite. Granted the display is capable of only one line of text, but it has proven useful in the past in providing a quick diagnoses of a particular problem. Data communications is made easy with the inclusion of dual embedded Broadcom Gigabit Server Adapter's. However, the **PE 2650** can also be ordered with other Intel adapter's such as the Intel PRO/1000 MT single port Gigabit NIC, Intel PRO/1000 MT dual port Gigabit NIC, and the Intel PRO/1000 MF optical Gigabit NIC. **My Viewpoint** The front of the black **PE 2650** is taken up mostly by the five 1 inch SCSI drive bays that are arranged in two pairs and one lone drive on the far left hand side of the server. On bottom of that drive sit the floppy and CD-ROM drives. To the far right of the chassis sits the small aforementioned LCD display, a power button, a video connector, as well as NIC status lights. The front of the unit is covered with a removable, lockable black and silver bezel with a small blue status light that is incorporated into the round silver Dell logo in the middle of the bezel. During normal operations the light will remain blue, but if a problem occurs the light will blink red. The back of the **PE 2650** is equally as compact; on the far right you will find the dual GB NIC's, dual USB ports, which sit underneath the (3) PCI/PCI-X expansion slots. To the left of these connections sit the ubiquitous monitor, mouse, and keyboard ports, as well as and optional remote access controller port, and two hot-swappable 500W redundant (hot-plug) power supplies which house six hot-swappable, redundant fans. There are fifteen **PE 2650 **servers** **installed in our NOC and test lab. The business uses the servers for production and development installations of *Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, Microsoft SQL Servers*, and for SQL database storage, all roles for which they are ideally suited. We also use several for other high processor intense applications such as *Microsoft SharePoint Service Portal*. However, because the **PE 2E50** is highly scalable, the box could just as easily be used as a departmental file, or specialized server such as a *Windows 2003* domain controller, or a Web backend application server. The two dual core processors coupled with fast RAM and 10K or 15K SCSI hard drives make the **PE 2650** 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 2650**'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. If your business is looking for a powerful, reliable, versatile, reasonably priced file and or application server, the 2U rack-mountable Dell **PowerEdge 2650** Enterprise-class** **server will most certainly fit the bill.