Compaq’s "Photon" Comes into the Light
June 5, 2000 [Source: Compaq]
As part of its ongoing commitment to deliver everything enterprise customers
need to build, manage and grow an Internet infrastructure, Compaq Computer
Corporation announced its new ProLiant DL360 ultra-thin 2-way server,
which will serve as the cornerstone of its density optimized line.
ultra-thin ProLiant DL360 addresses new and critical data center concerns
of customers by maximizing processing power, optimizing rack space and
providing the capability to easily manage thousands of servers remotely,"
said Mary McDowell, Vice President and General Manager of Compaq's Industry
Standard Server Group. "The industry-defining technology of the ProLiant
DL360 is designed to radically simplify our customers' computing experiences-whether
they are a leading-edge dot-com or an established enterprise-and help
them optimize profits from their Internet computing infrastructures."
ProLiant DL360 is the first ultra-dense server optimized for high-volume
deployments. Designed to meet the rigorous availability and density demands
of the explosive Service Provider market, Compaq's ProLiant DL360 offers
superior manageability combined with massive amounts of processing power
in a limited space. This server exemplifies Compaq's commitment to innovate
and optimize its server technology for the rapidly expanding needs of
the ISP/ASP market.
to Compaq, the ProLiant DL360 is the only 1U form factor that supports
2-way Pentium III processors, hot plug drives, integrated RAID, two full-length
PCI slots and memory expandable up to 4 GB-twice the memory of competing
1U servers. Additionally, it includes new rack mount features such as
snap-in rails and simplified cable management, and every server comes
standard with Compaq Insight Manager. The ProLiant DL360 also provides
an option for the Remote Insight Lights-Out Edition, which enables businesses
to manage up to thousands of servers with a virtual Web-based tool from
anywhere in the world.
options meet a range of data center environment requirements such as desktop
stackable solutions, third-party racks and telco rack solutions.
Although Network Engines, Inc. (NEI) and IBM (which currently resells
a Network Engines-based system) were the first companies to ship a 1U/2CPU
system, (Ref. "IBM
Announces Netfinity 4000R Super-Thin Server") in late 1999, we
see the DL360 (formerly known as "Photon") as a very strong entry into
this market. We believe Compaq's new system overcomes one of the key challenges
of the NEI system - serviceability. Whereas NEI's philosophy is to allow
the customer to do a "box upgrade" (meaning: if something fails, replace
the entire chassis), Compaq allows users to replace/upgrade most of the
key components, plus it has hot-swappable hard drives. In addition, the
standard CD-ROM and floppy drive are nice to have, although one might
argue that they're not needed in a Web server (we disagree with that contention).
All in all, the DL 360 doesn't lack much.
is currently lacking is performance figures. Compaq is generally
good about doing benchmark testing before announcing a product (as was
the case with the ProLiant 8X00 series), but we can't find anything for
the DL 360. We would like to see SPECweb99 or similar benchmark results.
In fairness to Compaq, neither NEI nor IBM provides these figures, so
it seems to be a segment issue, not a vendor issue.
other issue we see is pricing: although the base price is close to that
of IBM, Compaq's memory is priced so high that anything more than a basic
complement increases the price difference tremendously. We have a tough
time understanding how it costs a user almost $9000 to upgrade a DL360
from 1GB to 2GB of RAM, but it costs a Netfinity user only $5500 to do
the same. Even if the memory speed is faster, the price premium doesn't
From a feature and design standpoint, we like this box. It has a lot of
features we consider valuable, and we believe users we appreciate them
as well. The hardware plus the software available (load balancing, light-out
operation and control, systems management) makes this a compelling offering,
especially if the price is right (as it is for "lighter" configurations.
customers need to be concerned about pricing, as mentioned above. If the
relatively low base price is a mere come-on, in the hope of locking customers
into high-priced add-ons, then customers should either negotiate better
pricing on options, or consider "voting with their feet".
as with all Web serving packages, customers should endeavor to get certified
performance figures. Having two CPUs in 1U doesn't mean much if there's
no performance advantage.