A number of storage related options are up for grabs as the system comes supplied as standard with a pair of 160GB Western Digital WD1600YS SATA hard disks. The motherboard sports an embedded SATA controller which provides four ports so you’ve room to add a couple more drives. The cage can be released from inside the chassis and slid out the front once the bezel has been unclipped and popped off. The RAID controller chip supports RAID-0 stripes and RAID-1 mirrors as well. If you want the full monty, you’ll need to get the eight-port MegaRAID SATA RAID card being offered by Evesham and there’s also an optional six-drive hot-swap bay available as well.
Intel has been working on its server management tools and now bundles its Active System Console with all its motherboards, which opens with a screen full of chunky icons for quick access to each key component. If all is well then there’s nothing to see but if a fault is detected the relevant icon changes to a warning and clicking on it brings up a windows with a log of the errors. For general monitoring, the system information page provides a complete rundown on all installed components with easy access to details such as temperatures, voltages, fan speeds, hard disk space and CPU status. Preset thresholds for many components are already provided and if any are breached the console can fire off a warning email. You can also set custom warning and critical thresholds for space on each disk volume and virtual memory if you wish.
For RAID management you get a RAIDmon utility which sits in the System Tray and watches the drives and arrays. It ties in with the management software so any disk errors and array degradations will be posted as an alert and can be used to send out warning messages. For an even greater insight into server operations you can use the bundled LANDesk Server Manager. In terms of features this is far superior to the Active System Console but it is overkill for single server businesses as its overheads include loading fourteen local Windows services and an SQL database for inventory data that can be collected from multiple systems.
The SilverEdge 300AH is a smart little package well suited to small businesses looking for their first server. Build quality is above average, it support an extensive range of storage options and the price includes a one year on-site maintenance warranty.