We can see a host of things in this shot of the rear of the server. The five high-volume fans are rather quiet for a server, without the high ramp-up blare that some servers do when turned on. Each are independently clipped in and can be removed without opening the case. The power supplies are hot-swap as well, of course, and right next to them at the far top-left, you can see the two SATA bays that are designed for the OS drives in (preferably) RAID1. Since these are attached to the motherboard, you’re reliant on the OS to handle Intel’s hardware-assisted software raid appropriately. A 2-port SFP+ 10Gb NIC is slotted at the bottom-left, and on the bottom-right, you can see three low-profile slots for other add-in cards. The ethernet IPMI port (with the blue Cat6 cable) is the first thing I’d suggest configuring, as the built-in IPMI tool makes the system very easy to completely manage remotely after that point.
Front LCD Info Screen
Intelligent Platform Management Interface
The IPMI allows you to get detailed statistics on the server, including all the information I showed on the front LCD panel, but also alerts, event logs, and historical graphs of power, temperature, and loads for the different components. The most useful component for setup and management is the remote control console and virtual media capabilities, in my opinion. You can remotely power on the server, use a virtually-attached ISO of an operating system, and install and configure that OS, all without physically interacting with the server. If your operating system locks up, you can see what is displayed on the screen (such as a Linux kernel panic) and hard-reboot the system remotely. IPMI stacks up rather favorably against HP’s iLO and Dell’s iDRAC, considering HP and Dell require an additional “advanced” license to interact with the remote console after POST hand-off to the OS.
AVAGO 3108 MegaRAID BIOS
We’ve got the usual MegaRAID BIOS to set up the hardware RAID. This card came with the license for RAID5 and RAID6, so we’re using a pair of RAID6 virtual drives with configured with 21 drives plus a hot spare each during testing. I did rebuild the array for production, after testing was complete, as a single RAID60 with a 22-disk span and a single hot-spare. The properties tab shows us our serial numbers, firmware levels, and cache size and status.
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