Dell PowerEdge 2500 Server; A dependable, Inexpensive, Departmental File Server
Written: May 5, 2004
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Dependable, affordable, versatile, expandable server; perfect for departmental file server needs.
Cons:Lags in performance; uses Intel PIII processors.
The Bottom Line: If you are looking for a dependable, versatile, reasonably priced departmental file server, look no further than the Dell PowerEdge 2500 server.
Qualifications: I am the manager (Network Administrator) of a medium-sized server farm at a government agency, which consists of some 25 Dell PowerEdge servers of various models and designs. Those models include 6400s, 6450s 2500s & 2600s, running Windows 2000 Advance Server or Windows 2003 Enterprise Edition.
Disclaimer: This review is intended for those with intermediate or advanced server knowledge, or those individuals seeking in-depth information on Enterprise caliber server equipment. Few if any of the terms used throughout the review are expounded upon.
I open the door to the computer lab and the air still, dark, and cool rolls like an unseen cloud forcefully through the opening giving rise to goose bumps along the surface of my exposed skin. The hum of the three HVAC cooling units mixes with that of the small cooling fans of over two hundred severs mounted in more than 30 industry standard server racks. The darkness is punctuated by the glow of hundreds of glowing green, yellow, orange, and red lights, some steadily on, some blinking in unison with those of hard drive indicators as data is pulled to and from to the servers. And there in the corner still resting in the boxes they were shipped in are two brand new, virginal Dell PowerEdge 2500 servers, beckoning to me to free them from their cardboard and wood prison
Dell designed the PowerEdge 2500 as a replacement for the aging PowerEdge 2400 series of departmental and workgroup servers. The PowerEdge 2500 is a direct replacement for the PowerEdge 2400, while the PowerEdge 2450 was succeeded by the new PowerEdge 2550 rack mount server. The Dell PowerEdge 2500 had a base price of $2,199 with a 700 MHz Pentium III processor. The PowerEdge 2550, meanwhile, had a base price of $2,521.
Both the PowerEdge 2500 and PowerEdge 2550 servers support dual Intel Pentium III processors with entry-level processor speed of 700 MHz, and high-end processors with clock speeds of up to 1.4GHz. Both the PowerEdge 2500 and 2550 feature ServerWorks' HE-SL chipset that supports three PCI buses (two 64-bit buses and one 32-bit bus), a maximum 4GB of DDR RAM in four slots and embedded dual-channel RAID with battery backup.
The PowerEdge 2500 is capable of housing up to six hot-pluggable, one-inch SCSI Ultra 160 hard drives in sizes ranging from 18.2 GB 73GB for up to 438GB of storage. The server also features a redundant hot-pluggable cooling fan, an optional hot-pluggable redundant power supply and a new smaller black chassis when compared to the PowerEdge 2400.
For backup and archiving vital system and data files, the PowerEdge 2500 has the capacity to interface with Dells PowerVault Internal/External SCSI storage units and Dell/EMC Fibre Channel storage. The PowerEdge 2500 makes data fault tolerance effortless and affordable through the inclusion of Redundant Array of Independent (or Inexpensive) Disks (RAID) by providing an optional high performance embedded PERC3/Di RAID subsystem that includes 128MB of battery backup cache which enhances availability.
Both the PowerEdge 2500 and 2550 can be factory-installed with Microsoft's Windows 2000 Server or Advanced Server Network Operating Systems (NOS), Novell's NetWare 5.1, or Red Hat's Linux 7.
Dell has given the PowerEdge 2500 many distinctive design features that make the server easy to deploy, service, and manage locally or remotely, thereby helping to lower the total cost of ownership. The PowerEdge 2500 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 five minute. Dells 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 PowerEdge 2500 server is an ideal solution for small-to-medium businesses and remote sites that require robust internal storage, PCI expandability and high availability features.
Installation and Performance:
Our two PowerEdge 2500s arrived configured as follows:
(1) Intel Pentium III @ 1.4GHz/512K 133MHz Bus.
(1) Intel Pentium III @ 1.0GHz/256K 133MHz Bus.
2GB DDR SDRAM 133MHZ (4x512MB).
3 X 72.2GB 10K RPM Ultra 160 SCSI Hard Drives.
Hard Drive Controller:
PERC3/Di 128MB (2 Internal Channels).
Floppy Disk Drive:
Floppy Drive,1.44M, TEAC2.
On board 10/100 Network Adapter.
PowerVault 110TDLT-VS80, 40/80G, Tape Backup, Half Height, Controller Included, Internal.
24X IDE CD-RW Drive for PowerEdge Servers.
Our server arrived from Dell without a NOS installed; however utilizing Dells Open Manage software I installed Windows 2000 Advanced Server on both PowerEdge 2500 servers in turn. Open Manage also allows for the configuration of the RAID array; the servers came from Dell configured as RAID Level 5, which I left intact. Open Manage makes configuring the PowerEdge 2500 a fairly painless endeavor; all told it took me less then two hours to completely configure each server and install the NOS.
Once the NOS was installed, I completed the configuration of the hardware and installed the associated software components, including Computer Associates ARCServe 2000 Advanced Edition for the included internal Dell PowerVault 110T DLT-VS80 (see below for a link to my review of this product), which shipped with the servers.
I purchased the PowerEdge 2500s to act primarily as departmental files servers, a role for which they are ideally suited. Actual, real world throughput (file transfers to and from the server), is outstanding. The redundant power supplies and hot swappable 72.2GB 10K (10,000 rpm) Ultra 160 SCSI hard drives make our two PowerEdge 2500s some of the most versatile and reliable servers in our inventory. They are not the top of the performance curve, but they are dependable; since I brought them online some 1.5 years ago, they have yet to drop off-line because of hardware failure.
The addition of the PowerVault 110T DTL-VS80 half-height Tape Backup Unit increases the versatility of the PowerEdge 2500 allowing for independent backup and archiving of vital system and data files. If you are looking for a reliable, versatile, reasonably priced file server, the Dell PowerEdge 2500 departmental and workgroup server will admirably fit the bill.
PowerEdge 2500 Features
Processors: Up to two Intel Pentium III processors at 733MHz 1.4GHz
Front Side Bus: 133MHz
Memory: 128MB/256MB/512MB/1GB 266MHz DDR in pairs for two-way interleaving. Four DDR DIMM sockets for support up to 4GB of main memory.
I/O slots: Six expansion slots; 5 x 64-bit/100/66MHz PCI-X; 1 x 32-bit/33MHz PCI.
Drive controllers: Embedded LSI Logic 53C1030 dual integrated PCI Ultra320 LVD SCSI controller.
RAID controllers: Embedded PERC3/Di (dual channel Ultra320 RAID with 128MB of battery-backup cache); optional PERC3/DC (dual-channel PCI RAID controller); optional PERC3/QC (quad-channel PCI RAID controller).
Drive bays: Standard internal hard drive bays to support up to six 1 Ultra160 SCSI hard drives with Dell hot-plug drives; optional two 1 hot-plug drives in the external media bays; optional 2 x 3 split backplane.
Hard drives: 18GB, 36GB, and 73GB (10,000 rpm) hot-plug Ultra160 SCSI hard drives; 18GB and 36GB (15,000 rpm) hot-plug Ultra160 SCSI hard drives; maximum internal storage up to 438GB.
Tape backup options:
o --Internal: PowerVault 100T DDS4 (20GB/40GB); PowerVault DLT VS80 (40GB/80GB); PowerVault 110T DLT7000 (35GB/70GB); PowerVault 110T LTO (100GB/200GB); PowerVault 110T SDLT (110GB/220GB)
o --External: PowerVault 120T DDS4 Autoloader (160GB/320GB); PowerVault 120T DLT1 Autoloader (280GB/560GB); PowerVault 128T LTO Mini-Library (2TB/4TB); PowerVault 128T SDLT Mini-Library (2.2TB/4.4TB); PowerVault 136T SDLT Library (6.6TB/13.2TB); PowerVault 136T LTO Library (7.2TB/14.4TB).
Network interface card: Single embedded Intel Pro100+ NIC.
Cooling Five: hot-plug/redundant fans.
Chassis: 5U tower or rack-mountable chassis.
Dimensions: (H x W x D) Tower: 17.5 x 9.125 x 24.75 (44.5 cm x 23.0 cm x 62.5 cm)
Graphics: Integrated ATI-Rage XL controller with 8MB of SDRAM.
Optional software Factory Installed O/S: Microsoft Windows 2000 Server; Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server; Microsoft BackOffice Small Business Server 2000; Red Hat Linux 7.3 Professional.
Dell PowerVault 110T DLT-VS80 Tape Backup Unit:
Dell PowerEdge 2600 Server
Read all 1 Reviews
Write a Review