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Buyer's Guide
Rack Servers
June 2022
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System Administrator at a energy/utilities company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 10
Scales very well and is pretty easy to set up but is a bit expensive
Pros and Cons
  • "What we like the most is the ability to upgrade the scaling of the system itself. Whenever we need extra storage, we can do that. Whenever we need extra memory, we can do that as well. It's fast and it's available."
  • "The pricing of the product could always be lowered."

What is our primary use case?

We use the solution primarily to provide services for the employees in our institute. Basically, it's the domain active directory. We also use it for its own server and providing the internet and our email server. We shifted recently to the Microsoft Product F365. We got the enterprise license for that as well. We don't use it to provide cloud services. We actually provide local services.

How has it helped my organization?

The older version of the servers that we had was the Dell Edge. The Dell Edge was a very old model and it had limited hardware capability and storage capacity. We had unfortunately faced some problems with providing for the new services due to these limitations. I'm talking about financially providing for the new service. 

The improvement was quite noticeable when we did the upgrade. We had faster service, better internet connection, and a more stable internet connection. We had a very stable active directory. I would say that whenever the users wanted to log in, we had no delays in creating the user profile and having the user access the server services such as Outlook or the internet. A firewall was installed also. The improvements were on a network scale, as well as the scale of the service. 

What is most valuable?

What we like the most is the ability to upgrade the scaling of the system itself. Whenever we need extra storage, we can do that. Whenever we need extra memory, we can do that as well. It's fast and it's available.

What needs improvement?

Thus far, the solution has been sufficient. I can't think of an area that really needs improvement at this time.

For the time being, our need is limited to certain features that are completely available in the Power Systems that we use. I can't say that we need an extra feature, or, at least, not in the near future.

The pricing of the product could always be lowered.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been dealing with the solution for two years. It was purchased in late 2019.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's not the hardware itself that's unstable as much as it is the software. The hardware is stable enough. However, the software from time to time requires maintenance, and that requires us to reinstall some of the features. Sometimes we face problems with upgrading to newer versions or updates. Occasionally, we have to revert back to an older version. That said, in terms of the hardware itself, it's stable enough. We haven't had any failures so far in the hardware, with the exception of hard drives.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability of the solution is excellent. It's very easy to scale and you can expand as much as you need to rather quickly.

Currently, we have between 350 and 450 users that access the solution.

In general, we do plan to increase usage. We're looking to have another server installed on a different site to upgrade the existing one. Right now, they're getting their services via a link from our servers, however, we are required to have a dedicated server on that different site to provide them with the services directly.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have divisions. Everyone has their specialty in terms of maintaining the servers. In terms of software, we have a system administrator that takes care of the software. In terms of hardware, we directly communicate with the service provider. They come and they take a look if, and only if we require some upgrades. That said, there's been no hardware failure before. 

What we do is if there is any upgrade done to the servers, we use a tender system. We announce that we need an upgrade, and three companies come forward saying that we provide this upgrade to this system that you have, and we usually select the proper one either by price or by standards. If they meet the standards of the upgrade that we need, then they do that. However, if we require services for the hardware that we have in the company, then the one that we bought the hardware from is the one who does the service. The agent of IBM is local. He knows the servers, and he does the maintenance on them.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup wasn't complex at all. We were familiar with how the systems are and the system that we wanted to install. The shifting from an older generation, an older server, to the new server wasn't done, actually. We had a freshly installed active directory. We improved the structure during the shifting phases. The only thing that we actually did for deployment was that we had the deployment imaging ready when we did it, and we customized it based on a virtual machine.

When we installed the virtual machine, we did the testing to scale the deployment prior to the arrival of the servers, and then we did the installation directly. We had everything ready. The only thing that we shifted was the user data from the old server to the new server. That took a while. Other than that, the deployment was straightforward.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The cost could always be lower to make it more affordable to organizations.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did look at Dell Systems, however, they were very expensive.

What other advice do I have?

We're just a customer. We don't have a business relationship with IBM.

In general, I would rate the solution at a seven out of ten so far.

While every organization has to choose its options based on their requirements, I can say that this particular solution has met our needs quite well.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Field Solution Architect at a financial services firm with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Very scalable, delivers on promises, and offers good terms
Pros and Cons
  • "The solution delivers what it promises. You look at the specs and it delivers them."
  • "Until they get new technology and density, it would be nice to see four nodes in a one-year package instead of a three-year package."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily used the solution for the servers. It's a node among many in a multiprocessor, supercomputer environment. It's a very verified application. The customer uses a lesser file system, which means that one file system is shared among the entire installation. You're not going to see that very often in your career unless you're in that business. It's a multi-node, high-performance computing file system. It's Linux based.

What is most valuable?

It fit the requirements of the client, that's really all that it was for us. It could deliver the IOPS and the local storage that was required. It could have been anybody else, Lenovo, IBM, HP, etc. We were Dell's number one reseller in Canada and probably worldwide. We got very favorable terms and that also helped with the decision.

What needs improvement?

The only way you could improve it is, for the purpose of HPC installations, is IOPS and the only way to improve it is to get a more powerful machine to deliver more IOPS. Basically, you need more CPUs and you need more RAM and you need a faster backbone. We were running on 100 gigabits Infiniband.

Until they get new technology and density, it would be nice to see four nodes in a one-year package instead of a three-year package.

For how long have I used the solution?

I'm recently retired, however, I did work with the solution on one of my last projects which lasted a few months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution delivers what it promises. You look at the specs and it delivers them. If it doesn't deliver you move onto another model.

There's really nothing special about it, and Dell doesn't make servers that are any better than anybody else's. The prime reason we chose it is that it delivers what it promises to deliver in terms of IOPS and the price right for us because when you're a platinum level reseller for a server company, they will give you very favorable terms especially in this time of a pandemic, hardware sales are down across the board for the entire industry.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's very scalable. That's the whole idea. When you want to add more computation power to the platform you just throw in another act of compute nodes and storage.

How are customer service and technical support?

I've never used technical support. Out-of-the-box it works, and if it doesn't, then the client deals with it directly. The equipment is sold to them so they own the serial numbers and they own the service contracts, so if anything went wrong during the installation the client would take care of them, not us.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We've worked with HP, Cisco, Lenovo, and IBM in the past. We always choose the solution that makes the most sense for our clients.

How was the initial setup?

We handed over the complete installation in September. We started in August. It takes time. You're coming into an empty room. You have to have power, you need the AC for the equipment there that has to be moved out. It takes time. The racks were pre-populated in Toronto and shipped to Montreal, and then in Montreal, they were set up and powered. We had liquid cooling and radiators on the rear of the cabinet for the heat.

We've done many of these installations, and it's pretty routine. There's nothing complex about it. The complexity is mostly that there are so many key parts in terms of getting it delivered on-site. There are so many parts from so many different vendors and there are penalties if you don't deliver on time. Nobody wants to pay penalties.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I didn't deal with the pricing, and therefore don't know the exact costs. 

However, they would compete with pricing on the market. Even if HP made an equivalent platform, and they do, we wouldn't get good terms. They're all pretty well in the ballpark range in cost and the variation. The list price might be 10%. They know what the competition is doing so they don't want to price themselves, the values, off the list of potential. If I'm looking at servers that deliver so much IOPS and they price themselves out, HP knows what Dell is doing and Dell knows what HP is doing.

What other advice do I have?

My company partners with Dell.

I'm recently retired, however, I did most of the infrastructure, backup storage, and high-performance computing. I was in pre-sales. I was a solution architect. Therefore, I'm not an end-user.

We only used Dell for the servers. We used Seagate for storage. They have hard drives. They've been in the hard drive business for 40 years.

My biggest piece of advice for those considering the solution is to make sure they are delivered on time. When clients are spending $50 million for an installation and you say it's going to be ready September 15th, it better be ready September 15th. One of the main reasons stuff's not ready is because parts are missing. That means you can't deliver a complete solution. If you're missing a box of spare hard drives, they're just spares, they're not preventing the installation, however, they're missing, and therefore you haven't delivered the product.

Overall, I'd rate the product ten out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
IT Systems Administrator at a tech services company with 1-10 employees
Real User
Top 5
The solution offers redundant networking interfaces, helping you to avoid disruptions
Pros and Cons
  • "HP ProLiant servers provide redundant solutions for almost everything. You can set up multiple power supplies, with a primary power source and a secondary power supply connected on UPS. If the power goes out in the building, the UPS will supply power to the host at all times. The solution can run on batteries for many hours, depending on your battery and UPS capacity."
  • "I would like to replace a hard drive that might be saved on the fly, on the server that I'm using currently, but I can't do that. I'm forced to power off my virtual machine, turn off the server, disconnect it from the power, replace the drive, rebuild the storage, and power it on again."

What is our primary use case?

Previously, I was working as an IT contractor for several companies, so the model depended on the size of the business. They were using the smaller, cheaper series of HP ProLiant servers. My current company is relatively large, so they use rack-mounted DL servers that are designed for bigger companies.

HP servers are deployed physically in your office, and you need to maintain them. You are responsible for keeping them online and servicing the end-users at all times. We have about 1,000 users. It's a hybrid environment. We have the same services on the cloud and on-premises, so they are redundant and faster.

What is most valuable?

HP ProLiant servers provide redundant solutions for almost everything. You can set up multiple power supplies, with a primary power source and a secondary power supply connected on UPS. If the power goes out in the building, the UPS will supply power to the host at all times. The solution can run on batteries for many hours, depending on your battery and UPS capacity. 

ProLiant servers also offer multiple networking interfaces, so they can be connected to various network equipment concurrently, allowing you to avoid disruptions from the network or internet connections. They are redundant in every area.

What needs improvement?

I would like to replace a hard drive that might be saved on the fly, on the server that I'm using currently, but I can't do that. I'm forced to power off my virtual machine, turn off the server, disconnect it from the power, replace the drive, rebuild the storage, and power it on again. 

That's a lot of downtime, and it affects the services. I know that HP provides this kind of solution to another series for a bigger budget of course. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used HP ProLiant servers for at least six years, but I worked with a different series in the past. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

ProLiant servers are highly stable. They're redundant in every area. We have counted on them for years, and we are satisfied with them.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I would say ProLiant servers scale well. Servers come with multiple storage loads that you probably won't ever use, but they are available to extend your storage if necessary. 

They have removable power supply interfaces that let you extend your redundancy. This applies to CPUs. You can add CPUs, memory, etc. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

They have been using ProLiant since before I joined the company. I don't know why they decided to use HP. However, I've used Dell servers as well. Personally, I think HP servers are easier to implement and maintain. Maybe that's why.

How was the initial setup?

Setting up ProLiant servers is straightforward. In the past, you needed deep knowledge to configure a server from scratch, but now they have a temporary web interface that allows you to connect to the server and configure everything on a wizard-like installer. If you know what you want to achieve, the implementation is easy.

Once you get the HP part from the vendor, it takes a couple of hours to put it on the rack, install the hard drive and CPU, install the operating system, and connect it to your network.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

You only need to pay for the hardware, but you can also purchase a license for Integrated Lights-Out technology, which gives you the option to connect to the server like you are physically on site connected with the mouse, keyboard and screen directly on the server. 

It's an extra feature that you need to pay for, but we are not using it. It's an amazing feature, but I have no idea how much the license costs.

What other advice do I have?

I rate HP ProLiant DL Servers 10 out of 10 because I never had a breakdown in six years, and the price is decent. ProLiant gives you something that's stable, reliable, and powerful for an excellent price.

The only thing that we might need is an extra interface to connect the server to the network with the fiber instead of a copper connector. It's something that we never did. And I would advise someone to implement this from the beginning because it might be a bit hard to configure. It will be fantastic if you do it before it goes into production. 

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Ehsan Emad - PeerSpot reviewer
Senior Data Scientist & Analytics at a integrator with 11-50 employees
Reseller
Top 5Leaderboard
The VIC card is the most important feature.
Pros and Cons
  • "The VIC card is the most important feature."
  • "The C-Series is not designed to be as scalable. They are designed to have enough RAM and enough CPU on their own side. If you want scalability, it's better to choose the B-Series— the Blade Servers — because those are much more scalable with Fabric Interconnect."

What is our primary use case?

Most customers use the C-Series server to install VMware solutions. It's deployed in a data center to handle the computing. Some customers use bare metal. Others are virtual. I am certified in VMware, so I've done a lot of VMware solutions, like integration between physical and virtual networks.

What is most valuable?

The VIC card is the most important feature.

For how long have I used the solution?

I started using C-Series Rack Servers in 2013. It was the M3 edition when I started. Today, it's M6.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The C-Series is a hundred percent stable because it uses an Intel processor with Samsung or Hynix RAM. Computing depends on RAM, CPU, and hard disk. The latest release has an AMD option, but I've never worked with it. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The C-Series is not designed to be as scalable. They are designed to have enough RAM and enough CPU on their own side. If you want scalability, it's better to choose the B-Series— the Blade Servers — because those are much more scalable with Fabric Interconnect.

Most of the time, the C-Series is a standalone server. However, if you're talking about scalability in terms of RAM and CPU, they are excellent because you can install three terabytes of RAM. which is more than enough.

How are customer service and support?

I've never contacted Cisco support because I can solve issues on my own most of the time, but my colleagues say that Cisco support is one hundred percent reliable.  

Obviously, when you have unusual issues, it's not fair to assume that the first line of support can solve your problem. They definitely need to escalate. It's not reasonable to expect that the first person you reach at Cisco can answer all of your questions, but when you are dealing with Cisco, you should be confident that they can help you. 

How was the initial setup?

Deploying a C-Series rack is straightforward. It comes in two flavors. You can deploy it the standard way or do it over Fabric Interconnect, which can handle the B-Series and C-Series together if you have the license. Cisco's CIMC is much easier to deal with than the HPE's iLO. One engineer is more than enough to deploy and maintain the solution.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The server itself isn't costly at all, but the CPU and the RAM can be pretty expensive. You can buy a UCS for $2,000, but the RAM and CPU can cost up to $80,000. The most expensive asset is the intel processor, but it depends on how many cores you want and the technology you want to use on your CPU, like Hyper-V, etc. 

What other advice do I have?

I rate Cisco USC C-Series Rack Servers 10 out 10. If you plan to buy a C-Series, you should be clear about why you want to use it because the uses vary. different. Whether you're using Cisco, HPE, Dell or any other brand, it's essential to define your use case. For example, are you using it for a simulation graphics, calculations, etc.?

Depending on the use case, you might want to go with a small server with more CPU. Sometimes you need a light CPU with a powerful GPU. For example, if we have a C-Series with four CPUs at the same time, or we have a server that's handled two CPUs at the same time—the purpose is crucial.

C-Series is good enough compared to other competitors like HPE and the other ones. The HPE C20 is one unit and has a lot of RAM support, but the C-series is number one, in my opinion.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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Jesse_B - PeerSpot reviewer
Senior Network Specialist at a government with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Easy to set up and has pretty good pricing but requires better local support
Pros and Cons
  • "The initial setup is easy."
  • "The RAID Management and the RAID Configuration tools need to be improved."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for a network server and file server.

What is most valuable?

The pricing is the most valuable aspect of the solution.

The initial setup is easy.

It's possible to scale the product.

What needs improvement?

The RAID Management and the RAID Configuration tools need to be improved. The RAID infrastructure needs some work. The RAID, MegaRAID, and Software RAID don't always hold the configurations. I have had multiple instances where I had to rebuild the server due to the RAID Configuration not holding. The RAID, the MegaRAID infrastructure need to improve.

Local technical support could be better.

The product should have out-of-plan management and be more reliable with controllers while offering better management features for the configuration and drivers.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for more than three years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is not stable. The servers tend to not be resilient.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is scalable. You can scale the racks. It's not a problem.

We have about 200 users using the rack server at this time. 

We do not plan to increase usage at this time.

How are customer service and support?

Not much technical support is available locally. They need to offer better assistance in our area.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We also use Dell and HP.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is pretty straightforward. It's not a complex process.

The setup and deployment took maybe an hour or so. 

You need two people for deployment and maintenance. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We pay to license on a yearly basis. I have an enterprise license. I just use that license from a non-government perspective.

On top of that, there's the cost of renting any servers. I have to continuously be buying hard drives for it. In terms of the maintenance cost of the servers is high.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We also evaluated HP and Dell.

What other advice do I have?

We are a customer and an end-user. We don't have a special business relationship with Lenovo.

I'd advise new users that, if they are looking for a more resilient and reliable server to run any critical applications on, I would choose either HP or Dell. They also offer better support and better response time. While HP and Dell servers may cost a little more, you get more value for your money.

In general, I would rate the solution at a five out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Buyer's Guide
Rack Servers
June 2022
Get our free report covering Dell Technologies, Lenovo, and other competitors of Dell PowerEdge XE Servers. Updated: June 2022.
610,045 professionals have used our research since 2012.