The HP ProLiant ML370 G5 is a powerful workhorse server well suited to virtualization and other resource-intensive tasks. A ruggedly built 5U rack mounted server, the DL370 G5 I tested was equipped with two quad-core Intel Xeon E5320 processors running at 1.86 GHz on a 1066MHz FSB, 8GB of RAM, and a Smart Array P400 Controller with 256MB of Cache connected to eight 74GB serial SCSI 15,000rpm hard disks. In its maximum configuration, the system supports a total of 64GB of RAM and 16 internal drives. The core system unit also has dual 1Gb integrated network adapters, two front and two rear USB 2.0 ports, a front accessible DVD drive, a serial port, a rear Integrated Lights Out Management (iLO) port, and a hot-plug power supply. Unlike smaller rack mounted servers, the ML370 provides eight full height expansion slots, which is great for server consolidation scenarios where you need to support multiple NICs. The server has six PCI-Express slots and two PCI-X slots. For improved security, the front USB ports and power switch are located in a removable chassis that you can snap in and out of the front of the unit.
You can purchase the system with 32-bit or 64-bit Windows Small Business Server 2008 Standard or Premium Edition, Windows Essential Business Server 2008 Standard or Premium Edition, Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition, Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 Premium Edition, Windows 2008 Server Enterprise Edition, or Windows Web Server 2008.
HP will also deliver a slightly less expensive version of the system with Novel SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 10, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, VMware Virtual Infrastructure 3 Foundation, Standard or Enterprise, VMware ESX 3i, or Citrix XenServer Select or Enterprise Editions.
The ML370 is very fast and essentially ready to deploy right out of the box. My test server came preloaded with Windows Server 2008 Standard edition. After supplying the standard sysprep values such as server name and network configuration, the system was up and running in matter of minutes. The server was noticeably quieter than most high-powered rack mounted servers.
In our labs, we used this machine in our virtualization test suite. Tests included running eight virtual machines (VMs) with workloads that included a mix of six file servers and two SQL Server database workloads. These tests were first set up using Windows Server 2008 and Hyper-V and later using VMware’s ESX Server 3.5. The scalability the system offered under this workload was impressive. Even under a full load, with all eight VMs running, the response time in our benchmarking tests was only about 28 percent higher than running the benchmark with a single active VM. This is excellent scalability considering that the VMs were highly stressed—the ML370 G5 clearly could have supported more active VMs. For more information about the virtualization test results, refer to our comparison of Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware ESX Server—I used the ML370 for those tests.
Like other servers in the HP ProLiant line, the ML370 G5 comes bundled with a great set of management utilities, the HP Systems Insight Manager and the Integrated Lights Out (iLO) technology. Insight Manager provides system monitoring, the ability to send alerts, and asset management. The built-in iLO feature enables remote management through an embedded Web server.
If you’re looking for a server that provides great bang for the buck, put the ProLiant ML370 G5 right at the top of your list. The ML370 G5 combines great value with high performance. The support for up to 64 GB of RAM and eight expansion slots provides excellent scalability, making it a great choice for an application, database, or virtualization server.