Backup is an important consideration but Dell doesn’t offer anything exciting in the tape drive department. For around £354 you can get an internal DAT72 drive that comes with a SCSI controller thrown in or an IDE Travan 40 drive for an extra £230. The DAT72 drive bundle looks good value although a paltry 3.2MB/sec transfer rate is pedestrian at best. We would recommend avoiding the Travan drive as its 2MB/sec transfer rate is one of the slowest in the industry and whilst the cartridges are extremely sturdy they are amongst the most expensive in terms of cost per Gigabyte. The server has some spare SATA interfaces so you may want to consider Sony’s AIT-1 Turbo drives which don’t cost a lot more and offer much higher backup speeds and storage capacities.
The target market for the SC440 is unlikely to require any remote server management facilities so Dell doesn’t include its full OpenManage software suite. All you get is its Server Assistant which comes supplied on a bootable CD-ROM and provides help with running diagnostics and OS installation. For the latter the Server Setup utility takes you through loading either Windows Server 2003 variants or Red Hat or SUSE Linux. For Windows it’ll provide access to the RAID controller configuration, offer to set up a system partition and then get on with checking the system, loading the required drivers and running an unattended installation. The System Tools option enables you to prepare your hard disks and create a separate partition for storing the system utilities.
Windows tools are also sparse, as although the RAID card is based on an LSI Logic SAS1068 chip you get LSI’s Window’s management utility included from where you can monitor the status of physical and logical drives and view a simple event log.
A well specified entry-level server that is solidly designed and built and is as quiet as a mouse. The price for the review system includes a RAID controller card and a speedy dual-core Xeon processor making it a good choice for small businesses on a tight budget looking for their first server