HP ProLiant Servers Buyer's Guide

By Drew Robb (Send Email)
Posted Jul 24, 2011


Since our last HP buyer's guide, the company has continued to expand the HP ProLiant server line across all categories of servers, including rack, tower, blade and scale-out lines. In September 2010, HP (NYSE: HPQ) introduced the first ProLiant MicroServer, a cost-effective starter server aimed at small businesses with fewer than 10 clients.

HP's popular ProLiant line spans the full range of server form factors, from microserver to rack, tower, and blade to its scale-out lines. Find out what's new in these five categories.

That was followed in October with the HP ProLiant SL servers, which included the HP ProLiant SL390s G7 and the HP ProLiant SL170s G6 servers, as well as four more SL servers -- the HP ProLiant SL160s G6, HP ProLiant SL165s G7, HP ProLiant SL335s G7 and HP ProLiant SL390s G7 server -- in March.

"These new servers enable HP to offer three times more multi-node solutions than competitors," said Andy Bauman, group manager, ISS ProLiant Servers at HP.

In April 2011, HP enhanced its HP ProLiant line with four updated servers based on the Xeon E7-8800/4800/2800 product families -- the ProLiant BL680c G7 and DL580 G7 servers based on the Xeon E7-4800 processors, and the ProLiant BL620c G7 and DL980 G7 servers based on the Xeon E7-2800 and E7-4800.

Most recently, the company added to its SMB portfolio with the HP ProLiant ML110 G7 and DL120 G7 servers.

"The HP ProLiant ML110 G7 is a server offered at a desktop price for growing businesses that have limited on-site IT support," said Bauman. "Easy to set-up and manage, it provides an affordable and functional solution to small/medium businesses."

The ML110 G7 comes with one Xeon E3, Intel Core i3 or Pentium processor and up to 16 GB RAM. It has a starting price of $709.

The HP ProLiant DL120 G7 rack-optimized server is targeted at web and edge-of-network SMB applications. It has the same specs as those listed above for the ML 100 G7, with a starting price of $895.

Bauman said the DL120 G7 competes against Dell PowerEdge R210 II servers.

"With more hard drives and twice the storage and I/O of the PowerEdge R210 II, the ProLiant DL120 can be configured for varying application demands," he said.

Choosing the Right HP ProLiant Server

For anyone confused about HP server names or trying to determine which server would fit best for a specific function, the first step is understanding the OEM's five basic categories.

1. HP ProLiant ML Tower Servers

These HP ProLiant ML servers are best for remote and branch offices in need of networking, file-and-print, and shared Internet access, as well as plenty of internal storage.

"ML 100 series servers are suited for SMB environments, single-tier architectures and other environments running light applications, whereas the ML 300 series servers can support corporate branch offices and environments ranging from data centers, corporate work groups to critical remote sites," said Bauman.

The individual servers on offer are:

Since our last guide, the ML115 has been end-of-lifed.

2. HP ProLiant DL Rack Mount Servers

DL servers work best for businesses in need of email, networking, virtualization and messaging. They pack a good amount of computing power in a small footprint.

Bauman laid out some buying tips for the range as a whole: DL 100 series servers are well-suited for SMBs, high performance computing (HPC) environments and single-tier architectures; DL 300 servers are for enterprise data centers and sophisticated SMB environments; DL 500 series servers are for compute-intensive and mission-critical applications; DL 700 series can be deployed for large virtualization and consolidation environments; and the DL 900 series is for data-intensive enterprise workloads, including business processing and decision support.

Models are:

End-of-lifed servers are the DL585 G6, DL385 G6, DL380 G6, DL360 G6, DL160se G6, DL165 G6, DL580 G5, DL585 G5, DL785 G5 and DL170h G6.

3. HP ProLiant BL Blade Servers

BL server blades are part of HP BladeSystem. Krista Satterthwaite, group manager, HP BladeSystem Servers, said they are suited to data centers and use with external storage.

The BL200 series, for example, is designed for scale-out as well as HPC customers, supporting compute cluster applications and operating systems. The BL400 series is primarily deployed in data centers that run infrastructure, database and virtualized environments. The BL600 series is targeted at enterprise data center deploying many virtual machines to handle large consolidation projects and demanding workloads.

Models are:

End-of-lifed servers are the BL460c G6, BL465c G5, BL465c G7, BL495c G5, BL490c G6, BL495c G6, BL2x220c G6, BL 685c G6 and BL680c G5.

4. HP ProLiant SL Scalable System Servers

The SL line is purpose-built for high performance computing, hosting and web services. The servers provide easy capacity at massive scale, as covered in our HP ProLiant Scalable System Buyer's Guide published in April.

HP ProLiant MicroServer

The final category is the HP MicroServer. These servers are squarely aimed at businesses with fewer than 10 clients, as covered earlier in this article.

Drew Robb is a freelance writer specializing in technology and engineering. Currently living in California, he is originally from Scotland, where he received a degree in geology and geography from the University of Strathclyde. He is the author of Server Disk Management in a Windows Environment (CRC Press).

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