Review: Lenovo ThinkServer RD220

Computerworld server review for mid-size organisation virtualisation

The Lenovo ThinkServer RD220 was reviewed as part of the Computerworld server review for mid-size organisation virtualisation.

Test configuration RRP: $7250 including GST

Like many of the current generation of 2U servers, the Lenovo ThinkCentre RD220 chassis has been designed to accommodate 2.5-inch rather than 3.5-inch drives to increase drive numbers. Even with a front mounted DVD drive, two USBs, a VGA port and a Light Path Diagnostics status display, the Lenovo manages to cram in 12 hot swap drive bays. It is interesting to note that the hot swap drive backplanes are implemented in individual four-drive clusters. The test server had two backplanes installed and supports eight drives. There is no backplane for the remaining four drive bays; presumably this is an option. If you wished to use the full 12 bays, the supplied LSI Logic SAS controller would not cut the mustard and you would need to upgrade; the controller’s only two channels are dedicated to the first two four drive clusters.

The chassis is robust and bears what has become the IBM/Lenovo signature front design. All the internal components in the chassis are easy to access once the top cover is removed. Redundant items include two hot swap 675W power supplies and three hot plug dual-fan assemblies for cooling the motherboard.

The server was supplied with two 10,000 RPM 146GB SAS 2.5-inch drives which has smooth cradles when removed or installed, two E5520 2.26GHz CPUs and only 4GB of DDR3 1333MHz RAM. We upgraded this in the lab to 16GB for the purpose of performance testing. There are a total of 16 DIMM slots that support advanced ECC and, for additional expansion cards such as FC controllers, the server sports four PCI-E x8 horizontal slots.

Two gigabit LAN ports and a dedicated system management LAN port come as standard. The default web-based remote administration is via integrated management module (IMM) and includes health and performance monitoring, email alerts, OS watchdogs, remote power control and server console redirection. Our server was configured with IMM Premium, standard on E5520 processors and above, which includes the ability to display OS failure screens through the web interface, remote disk attachment and remote control of a server KVM.

CPU performance was typical of the E5520 class but the disk performance was very strong with the drive throughput higher than all the servers with the exception of the HP Proliant DL380 G6 and its much faster SSD drives.


The Lenovo ThinkServer RD220 is a good middle of the road server with good build quality, redundancy and solid disk performance although there are better servers in this class in terms of overall features for your dollar.

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Tags serversLenovo ThinkServer RD220

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