This box is heavy. It is solid. It could be a little quieter and cooler but for what it does, it is awesome. Raid 5 with hatspare and forget it. The boards are long lasting, the drives have good airflow. Up to 8 drives in a raid config. Purchasing raid later is a small pain but configured right the first time you will love it. For the average office file server, SAS drives are fine. For an office with Exchange, file and print services, get SCSI drives. Either way, expect it to last in this box.
The Perfect SOHO & Branch Office Server Solution
***Bottom-Line***: If you are looking for a stand-a-lone reliable, versatile, powerful and reasonably priced file or application server, (5U), (Tower) Dell **PowerEdge 2800** server will most certainly fit the bill.
The branch server; they are as ubiquitous now as the cash register. 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. 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, the *Dell ***PowerEdge 2800. **
**The Server: **
Dell designed the **PE 2800** for high-availability, 24/7 network operations. The 5U free standing tower and rack mountable, eight drive server, features dual Intel Xeon processors with a 800MHz Front Side Bus (FSB), and up to 2MB of L2 level cache. In addition the server can also be fitted the Intel's dual-core Xeon processor.
The **PE 2800** is well suited for computing and memory-intensive applications, such as databases and web-based application like *Microsoft's SharePoint Portal Server*, but is scalable enough to operate as a everyday file and print server, which is how we utilize them. Dell outfitted the **PE 2800** with Intel's advanced E7520 chipset that provides a highly respectable 6.4GB/s of memory bandwidth and up to 4.0GB/s of throughput on each PCI Express interface. The extreme versatility of the chipset allows it to support DDR-2, PCI Express serial I/O technology, Intel Extended Memory 64 Technology (Intel EM64T), as well as Hyper Threading technology, Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology and Streaming SIMD Extensions 3 (SSE3) Instructions. In addition the E7520 chipset will support 266, DDR 333 or DDR2-400 memory technology.
As mentioned above the **PE 2800** incorporates high bandwidth PCI-Express slots (two 64-bit/133 MHz), as well as (4) PCI-X, and (1) PCI 32-bit expansion slot(2) for a total of seven. In addition the **PE 2800** features dual Intel Gigabit network interface cards (NIC's) for built-in load balancing, as well as high-speed double data rate (DDR-2) memory banks that support up to 16GB of error-correcting code (ECC) SDRAM in six slots all on a 64-bit dedicated bus.
With (7) overall expansion slots; and numerous embedded features, you can deploy the **PE 2800** in a configuration that supports a wide range of workloads either in a data center 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 2800 **server offers an embedded dual channel *PERC4e/Di RAID* subsystem Ultra3 (U320) SCSI controller that supports up to eight 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 lower half of the front of the black **PE 2800** is taken up by the right 1 inch SCSI drive bays which are arranged in two pairs of four stacked on top of one another. On the top of these drives sit the floppy and CD-ROM drives. And on top of these sit (2) 5.25 inch external expansion slots. To the far right of the chassis sits the small aforementioned LCD display, a power button, a video connector, (2) USB ports, 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 2800** is equally as compact; on the far left near the bottom, you will find the dual GB NIC's, dual USB ports, optional remote access controller port, as well as VGA, PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports. These ports sit next to the (7) PCI/PCI-X/PCI Express expansion slots. On top of the expansion slots sit the two hot-plug 930W redundant power supplies which house six hot-swappable, redundant fans.
**My Viewpoint **
The business currently has five **PE 2800 **servers** **installed in various branches throughout the organization; however the business just ordered 25 more. As I stated above we use the servers in a production environment acting as file and print servers at our branch locations. All of the server run Microsoft Windows 2003 Standard Edition. However, because the **PE 2800** 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 dual-core, or hyper-treading processors coupled with fast RAM and 10K or 15K SCSI hard drives make the **PE 2800** 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 2800**'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 you are looking for a stand-a-lone reliable, (very) versatile, powerful and reasonably priced file or application server, the large-footprint (5U), free standing (Tower) Dell **PowerEdge 2800** Enterprise-class** **server will most certainly fit the bill.
**PowerEdge 2800** **Features **
- **Form Factor:** 5U Tower or Rack-mountable chassis;
- **Processors:** Up to two single-core 64-bit Intel Xeon processors at 2.8GHz, 3.0GHz, 3.2GHz, 3.4GHz, 3.6GHz, and 3.8GHz, or; up to two Dual-core 64-bit Intel Xeon processors at 2.8GHz;
- **Front Side Bus:** 800MHz;
- **Cache:** Up to 2MB L2 Dual-core: up to 2MB;
- **Chipset:** Intel E7520;
- **Memory: **Up to** **16GB DDR-2 ECC SDRAM ; (8) DIMM slots;
- **Drive controllers:** Embedded dual channel Ultra3 (U320) SCSI/RAID controllers.
- **RAID controllers: **Embedded PERC4e/Di (single channel Ultra320 RAID with 256MB of battery-backed cache); Optional add-in PowerEdge Expandable RAID controller, Version 4, Dual-Channel (PERC 4/DC) with 128MB battery-backed cache
- **Drive bays:** Standard internal hard drive bays to support up to (8) 1" Ultra320 SCSI hard drives with Dell hot-plug drives. Media bay for 24x IDE CD-ROM or 8x IDE DVD ROM, and 3.5 in. floppy; 2x 5.25 inch external drive bays;
- **Hard drives: **36GB, 73GB, 146GB, and 300GB (10,000 rpm) hot-plug Ultra320 SCSI hard drives; 18GB, 36GB, 73GB and 146GB, (15,000 rpm) hot-plug Ultra320 SCSI hard drives; maximum internal storage up to 3.0TB (8x300GB);
- **Tape Backup Units: **Internal: PowerVault 100T and 110T; External: PowerVault 114T, 124T, 132T, and 136T;
- **I/O Slots:** (7) Total; (6) full length, one half length PCI-X slots; 4x64-bit/133MHz and 2x PCI Express; 1x PCI 32-bit 33MHz;
- **Network interface card:** (2) Dual Embedded Broadcom Gigabit Base T Adapter
- **Power Supplies:** Optional 930W hot-plug, redundant.
- **Video:** Integrated ATI Radeon with 16MB SDRAM