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We're planning to consolidate our infrastructure (a dozen servers). We'll buy two or three identical new servers who will be setup as a XenServer pool. Load balancing and HA tools will monitor the pool and vMotion VMs in case of failure/overload.

I know that the DL100 series of HP servers is cheaper than the DL300 serie (in every sense of the word). As we don't need local storage (we have a SAN) and can live with a temporary down server (provided that Xen Server HA tools work as advertized), what are the downsides going with the DL100 serie ?

Thanks,

Chris

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6 Answers

This has nothing to do with virtualisation but if you can you should really try to avoid the 100 series. They really are cheaper in every possible sense of the word, and it shows.

We have had nothing but trouble with the three we have in use: one DOA, one defective system board and two cases of defective or incompatible RAM). Every incident cost me about three days on the phone, writing e-mails or debugging the hardware. HP support is great but it takes quite a while and many hoops to jump through before they accept that it's a hardware problem and not anything else.

On the other hand we have about 15 DL380 G6 in various projects (all of them doing virtualisation with KVM) and the worst that happened was a surprisingly large number (six or seven) of hard disk drives failing after a few months and one system board with a defective DIMM slot. (And no, the disk failures had nothing to do with controller firmware bugs.)

If you can, please go with the 300 series, especially for virtualisation. It will save you headaches and many support hotline calls. You also get three years of warranty for servers and hard disk drives with the 300 series as well as next business day support on site, without any additional support packs. IMHO those are killer arguments against the 100 series.

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I've been running Citrix XenServer on three DL360 G5 servers for the past two years(ish). They each host 15 virtual on local disk storage :\ The eight cores idle at 10% usage all day long, the CPU graph never moves. The disks don't work very hard either, but they're all light virtuals, no database servers or anything hardcore. In my opinion, DL360s would be overkill. I'd look at DL320s as ewwhite suggested.

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Go with a DL320 as a compromise. The Smart Buys of that model (e.g. 470065-153) are sub-$2000, well-stocked with redundant power, RAID cache and eight drive bays. ILO is standard and the systems are compatible with HP's management agents.

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Consider the HP SL range too if you know your external port requirements in advance, almost the same server-to-U ratio of blades but without the initial investment. Look to the half-height servers.

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Off the top of my head i´d say:

  • No Hotplug (fans...)
  • No Redundancy (fans, powersupply...)
  • No ILO Management
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This is probably too late for the original questioner, but...

The 320 is only available as a single socket, with low memory, so its not a great virtualization server. If your reseller works it properly, the cost of the 360 shouldn't be much more than the 160. The MSRP will be higher, but HP offers more programs to discount the cost of the 360.

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