You’re spoilt for network connections as the server sports a pair of embedded dual-port Gigabit adapters – no other server vendor apart from Sun (or Oracle as it is now) offers this many standard ports. They’re also iSCSI ready as they have an integral TOE (TCP offload engine) which can be activated with a simple upgrade. There’s even room for two expansion cards as the server has two riser cards each offering a PCI-Express slot.
The mysterious black box at the rear of the motherboard is Dell’s new Lifecycle Controller. Inside is 1GB of NVRAM, which you can use to boot the server from. This takes you to the new UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) environment complete with GUI plus mouse and keyboard support.
Dell’s thinking with the UEFI is you no longer need to boot your server from a disk to install an operating system as it’s all done from here. You can also store firmware versions and drivers on the controller for immediate access and it provides diagnostics and server update tools as well.
Dell has completely revamped its management software with the aim of providing a central console that can manage not only Dell systems but other vendors’ servers and all networking equipment as well. Dell’s old IT Assistant gets the boot and is replaced with the Management Console, which has Symantec’s Altiris Notification Server at its heart.
It provides vastly superior reporting facilities and can automate tasks to run jobs on multiple systems. An auto-discovery populates its database with all servers and SNMP enabled devices, and you can push an agent to each server and workstation that adds features such as automated inventory and remote control.
Remote management gets another boost with Dell’s new iDRAC6 card, which adds a dedicated network port at the rear. The standard model offers server monitoring where you can keep an eye on critical components, add alert notifications if things go awry and remotely control power. The Enterprise upgrade brings in KVM-over-IP for full server remote control and support for virtual media.
Dell’s new PowerEdge R610 is one classy rack server that delivers a remarkable range of new features, some of which are unique. It’s very well-designed and offers full support for the latest Xeon 5500 Series processors plus Dell has made some huge improvements with its new systems management software.