Lenovo ThinkServer - Things we love and hate

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We tested the Lenovo ThinkServer RD630 and found the 1/2U server to be a powerful, versatile machine. Here’s what we love/hate about the ThinkServer.

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Having a DVD drive on the face of the unit is a major convenience when it comes to setting up the server. We were able to boot the server from the DVD, which was a joy.

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Lenovo does a great job giving IT managers plenty of storage options, with eight front-facing slots for 2.5-inch SATA or SAS drives.

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Having VGA jacks on the front and back of the device is another feature that will make life a little easier for data centre admins.

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The unit that we tested had only three Gigabit Ethernet jacks, and one of these is likely to be used for the management backplane, leaving just two Gigabit Ethernet connections for the server and any VM guests or web processes on the machine. We’d like to see more.

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The ThinkServer would be at home at most international airports. Luckily, you can turn down the fans, if you’re so disposed.

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Those desiring more or faster connectivity have the ability to use up to five PCI Express card clots on the two risers built inside the server. However, be aware that the PCI Express bus might throttle your network cards because of its own bus speed limitations.

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The advantage of using a known-quantity, generic chipset is that set up runs smoothly; the operating system routines pick the right drivers the first time, every time.

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The Lenovo ThinkServer has 12 CPU cores: two Intel Xeon 2620 95-watt, six-core CPUs. This server is fast.

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The server has a MegaRAID utility which explains setup, RAID types, implications of choices, and how the RAID controller can be accessed.

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Some might consider this overkill, but when jostling external flash/conventional drives, a keyboard, and a mouse sitting on a crash cart, more jacks are better.

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