Opinions Wanted: Dell PowerEdge Servers ... ?

Nick Withers nick at nickwithers.com
Sun Jun 25 04:21:54 UTC 2006

On Sat, 24 Jun 2006 22:03:42 -0300 (ADT)
"Marc G. Fournier" <scrappy at hub.org> wrote:

> I'm currently weighing options ... my last two servers were HP Proliant, 
> and I *really* like them, but I might have a line on a supplier in Panama 
> that deals in Dell Servers and not HP ...
> Looking at Dell's web site, the PowerEdge has an optional "Remote Access 
> Controller" that will it *sounds* like will give me similar functionality 
> as HPs iLO ...

>From my experience (this is going back a little way now) with
Dell PowerEdge 2650s with a Dell ERA II controller, the
controller was nowhere near as good as the iLO on a HP ProLiant
DL360 G3.

The Dell cards were only able to transmit text to a remote
controller, which given that at the time I was working with
Windows Server 2003 was a real pain!

The controllers also came to us with identical MAC addresses
(across thousands of machines), which was a blast...

All this having been said, however, the newer Dell controllers
are undoubtably leaps and bounds above the ERA II.

> But, I've heard bad things about their 'desktop offerings', and am not 
> sure if that follows through to their "Servers" ...

Funny, I've always heard (relatively) good things about their
desktops / laptops :-)

> So, I'm kinda looking for both good, and bad, experiences with the 
> PowerEdge stuff ... anyone with opinions?

I found I had really terrible support from Dell. This may just
be a Dell Australia issue, or perhaps the "technician"s
allocated to my employer weren't all that capable, or some

I found countless problems with (for instance) the OpenManage
software with things like not showing missing HDDs under certain
circumstances (I seem to recall my main concern at the time was
that a missing hot-spare for a RAID 5 array would go totally
unnoticed / unreported in OpenManage despite being indicated on
the machine's front information display).

Having to scrub RAID volumes created with the Adaptec onboard
RAID controller (a PERC 5/Di (Dell's designation), from memory)
was a pain, too, and very lengthy (it would take around 20
hours for a 4 x 80 decimal GB disk RAID 5 set). My experience
with HP servers suggests that this process isn't required for
the cards they use, but I'll happily confess to being really
ignorant of this whole process.

I tend to think of Dell as a low-end provider that will cobble
together systems based on whatever bits happen to be lying
around (don't think that one PE 2650 is the same as the next!),
which in turn are invariably the cheapest bits available for a
particular job. I've made this sound bad - somewhat
intentionally - but there's certainly a market for cheap over
quality. I would be far less averse to chucking in Dell kit at
home - particularly if it cost significantly less than other
options - than I would be to chucking it in a big,
geographically diverse organisation with much more expensive
uptime requirements.

Hope this had been useful, sorry to go on for so long!

> Thx ...
> ----
> Marc G. Fournier           Hub.Org Networking Services (http://www.hub.org)
> Email . scrappy at hub.org                              MSN . scrappy at hub.org
> Yahoo . yscrappy               Skype: hub.org        ICQ . 7615664
Nick Withers
email: nick at nickwithers.com
Web: http://www.nickwithers.com
Mobile: +61 414 397 446

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