IN THE SOHO market the NAS has pretty much replaced the server, but it seems like HP has decided to re-introduce the server to smaller offices around the world. The ProLiant MicroServer offers a range of benefits over a NAS and remains cost competitive in comparison to a higher-end NAS solution with Atom processors. The MicroServer is powered by an embedded dual core AMD Athlon Neo II N36L which should offer even the fastest NAS boxes a serious run for their money.
The Athlon Neo II N36L might only be clocked at 1.3GHz, but AMD claims that it will outperform an Intel Core 2 Duo U9300 which is found in various embedded solutions, as well as AMD’s own Athlon Neo L325. The Athlon Neo II N36L features 2MB of L2 cache, a 1GHz HyperTransport bus support for DDR3 memory. HP’s basic configuration of the MicroServer includes a mere 1GB of DDR3 memory, but it can be upgraded to 8GB, again something you won’t be able to do with a NAS.
However, just like a NAS, the MicroServer offers support for RAID and it has space for up to four hard drives, although it’s limited to only RAID 0 and 1 support and they’re not hot-swappable. The MicroServer also has space for an optional half height optical drive, an eSATA port, integrated graphics, seven USB 2.0 ports (of which one is internal), a Gigabit Ethernet port, a x16 PCI Express slot, a x1 PCI Express slot and a x4 PCI Express slot that’s reserved for an optional management card. The expansion slots are half height, half length, so the type of card that can be fitted is somewhat limited.
HP will supply either Red Hat Enterprise Linux or Windows Server on the MicroServer which is installed on a separate 160 or 250GB hard drive depending on the configuration. Other upgrade options include an 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi card and a secondary Gigabit Ethernet adapter, a TPM module and various HP StorageWorks USB RDX removable disk backup systems. HP is also making claims of the low noise level of the MicroServer as it’s only produces 22dBA of noise. It’s also quite power efficient at a fully loaded power draw of just under 71W. With a $329 starting price with Red Hat this looks like it could be a big seller for HP, especially as it’s the first of its kind that we’re aware of.S|A
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