Server Snapshots: HP ProLiant DL320 G5

By Drew Robb (Send Email)
Posted Feb 20, 2007


In George Orwell's "Animal Farm," the pigs alter their famous revolutionary mantra to "four legs good, two legs better." HP's ProLiant DL320 G5 (for Generation 5) could take that out for a spin with: "4P and 2P good, 1P better.

With chip and memory upgrades, the ProLiant DL320 G5 is replacing the G4. The rack-optimized 1-processor, 1U server delivers enterprise management features for an entry-level price.

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"Dual core is great as it enables users to run applications successfully on a single processor machine," says Daniel Bowers, a server product manager at HP of Palo Alta, Calif. "That can be a big help when the budget is tight."

The DL320 is a rack-optimized server available at an entry-level price. The 1-processor, 1U server includes a wealth of enterprise management features, support for one or two Serial ATA (SATA) drives on an integrated RAID0/1 controller (optional upgrade to SAS drives), and uses the latest Intel Xeon dual-core processor. The server is targeted at single-application IT infrastructure, Web and edge-of-network applications.

"Internet service providers and telcos deploy the DL320 on a dedicated basis for a specific task, and like it due to cost," says Bowers. "It's also very good for smaller companies and for co-location, as its remote management capabilities mean that you can point at a browser and remotely run or power cycle the server."

In addition, the management features make it a good bet in the data center. That means it can be plugged into an existing ProLiant-based infrastructure and managed centrally by the IS organization via HP OpenView or other tools. Unlike other single processor rack servers of branded and white box manufacturers, the DL320 G5 integrates advanced remote management into the system without the need for a plug-in option card. Features available include a remote console, virtual power control and browser-based access over SSL-encrypted HTTP to a management console.

"The DL320 is a good example of a server product targeted toward small and medium-sized businesses," says John Enck, an analyst with Gartner. "HP has done a good job of balancing technology features with cost. However, the real question with the DL320 is not the product itself; the real question is if HP will be able to effectively market it through its channels."

Range of Configurations

This model has replaced the DL320 G4. They are essentially similar boxes except for incremental upgrades, such as chip and memory bumps on the G5. The G4 will reach end-of-life at the end of February.

The G5 is available in a range of configurations. The three models listed below share certain features that are standard on all models. This includes an embedded NC324i dual port 10/100/1000T Gigabit network adapter, integrated Lights Out 2 (iLO 2) standard management, dual-rotor fans, 420 Watt PFC power supply, four USB ports, and two PCI-Express (each with eight connectors).

At the low end, the DL320 G5 can be outfitted with an Intel Celeron D processor (3.2GHz, 512KB L2 Cache, 86 Watts, and 533MHz FSB), 512 MB memory, and no hard drive for a price of $999.

"This configuration is best for smaller companies and co-located customers where the main purchase decision is acquisition costs," says Bowers. "It would be used for static page serving or in uses where high performance was not the highest necessity."

For $500 more, HP throws in a dual-core Xeon Processor 3040 (1.86GHz/ 1066MHz, 2MB L2 cache), 1GB memory, an integrated Intel 82801GR SATA host controller with RAID 0/1, one 160GB SATA hard drive, and a CD-ROM drive. Bowers believes this version is probably the sweet spot in the 1P market, serving as a general-purpose server that offers plenty of processing power and a little headroom for expansion.

At the high-end of the HP ProLiant DL320 G5 range, for $4,047 you can receive a Xeon processor 3070 (2.66GHz/ 1066MHz 4MB L2 cache), 2GB RAM, a SATA controller with two hot-plug 146GB SAS 15,000 rpm drives, an HP SmartArray E200/64 Controller, and a DVD-RW optical drive.

"This model is best for power users with a specific application they are trying to tune," says Bowers. "Perhaps they have an important database that is small enough that they don't need 4P and can get away with a high-performance 1P rack server."

Competitive Picture

Outside of the white box market, the DL320 G5 competes directly with 1P systems from its biggest rivals — the IBM System x3250 and the Dell PowerEdge 860. It outguns both on the CPU2000 benchmark, where it scored highest for an x86 single-socket rack server in several categories. According to Bowers, the only single-socket x86 server to beat the DL320 was its tower sibling, the HP ProLiant ML310 Server.

He feels the availability of good management tools as standard items, as opposed to optional add-ons, gives the G5 the edge. With users milking dual core to run applications on 1P units they used to run on 2P or 4P gear, the addition of enterprise-class management features gives such cost-conscious users the opportunity to further cut deployment and operational costs.

"Built-in management not only keeps costs down, it also allows users to run more servers without increasing staff," says Bowers. "The DL320 G5 also has better hot-plug SATA and SAS options than the equivalent Dell and IBM servers."

Although HP invested in management functionality, it didn't add much in the way of power management into the DL320. The rationale is that the 1-processor rack server market generally does not optimize for power savings. Bowers says enterprise customers focused on power savings tend to prefer 2P and above equipment. A 1P tends to be used mainly for dedicated single-function appliances and is not deployed en masse in the data center; it doesn't require the same emphasis on power savings.

"Co-located users are charged on rental and bandwidth usage typically, not energy," says Bowers. "HP focuses its energy savings efforts from 2P on up."

Bowers also notes that the lower-memory capacity and processing capability of a 1-processor machine (such as the DL320) generally make it unsuitable as a server on which to run virtual machines. HP offers optional tools, such as the Virtual Machine Management Pack and the Server Migration Pack, to help manage virtual machines. However, these are used mainly to move servers from physical instances, such as a stand-alone DL320 G5, into a virtual instance, such as a single virtual machine on a larger, DL580 server.

The HP ProLiant DL320 G5 Close Up

Name ProLiant DL320 G5
Vendor HP
Platform x86
Dimensions 1U Rack; HxWxD = 1.70 x 16.78 x 24.0 in (4.32 x 42.62 x 60.96 cm)
Processor Details A single Dual Core Xeon 3000 sequence processor with 2M or 4M of L2 Cache;
or Single-Core Pentium-4 or Celeron processor options
Hard Drives Standard models come with either no hard drive, an 80GB SATA hard drive, or a 160GB SATA hard drive;
Configure-to-order configurations can include up to 2 of the following:
80, 160, 250, 500, 750 GB SATA hard drives
36, 72, 146, 300GB 15000 rpm SAS hard drives
Operating Systems Windows Server 2003 (Web, standard, and enterprise editions; standard and enterprise editions for 64-bit extensions)
Red Hat Linux (RHEL3, RHEL4)
SuSE Linux (SuSE Enterprise Server 9, Enterprise Server 10)
Configuration Options Sample configurations:
$999: HP ProLiant DL320 G5 3.2GHz SAS/SATA Server with Intel Celeron D processor 352 (3.2GHz, 512KB L2 Cache, 86 Watts, 533MHz FSB), 512MB UB PC2-5300 (1x512MB Memory ), integrated Intel 82801GR Serial ATA Host Controller with RAID 0/1 and no hard drive.
$1,499: HP ProLiant DL320 G5 1.86GHz SATA Server with Dual-Core Intel Xeon Processor 3040 (1.86GHz/1066MHz 1x2MB L2 cache), 1GB UB PC2-5300 1x1GB Memory, Integrated Intel 82801GR Serial ATA Host Controller with RAID 0/1, one 160GB SATA hard drive and CD-ROM drive.
$4,047: HP ProLiant DL320 G5 with Dual-Core Intel Xeon Processor 3070 (2.66GHz/1066MHz 4MB L2 cache), 2GB UB PC2-5300 2x1GB Memory , Integrated Intel 82801GR Serial ATA Host Controller with RAID 0/1, two Hot Plug 146GB SAS 15,000 rpm drives, HP SmartArray E200/64 Controller and DVD-RW optical drive.
Availability This server is currently available.
Warranty Three years

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