Review: Xenon Radon R4550 Quad 2U

Computerworld server review for mid-size organisation virtualisation

The Xenon Radon R4550 Quad 2U was reviewed as part of the Computerworld server review for mid-size organisation virtualisation.

Test configuration RRP: $8124

The R4550 is based on Supermicro’s CSE-827H-R1200B four node chassis and Supermicro X8DTT-IBQF processor nodes; it’s effectively the Supermicro interpretation of a four blade server. The chassis is plain and robust, the hot swap drive cradles are smooth to withdraw and insert and, while the nodes are easy to withdraw and usually easy to install, the air shroud will jam and potentially break if incorrectly fitted.

The chassis has four cooling fans, two for each pair of nodes. If one was to fail, however, the chassis has to be withdrawn from the rack and a top access cover removed to replace the faulty fan. There is provision for a pair of 1200W hot swap power supplies but the test unit only had a single supply fitted.

There were four nodes installed in the chassis of which only one was populated with CPU and memory. A quad core X5560 CPU and 12GB of DDR3 ECC registered memory was fitted to the node, but any E5500 series CPU is compatible with the node and up to 144GB of physical RAM is addressable.

There certainly should not any risk of a LAN bottleneck with each node sporting its own dual gigabit ports and Mellanox Infiniband 40Gbps controller. As with the Xenon Radon R1150, management is restricted to Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) V2.0 and the motherboard vendor’s proprietary Super Doctor III.

The R4550 vied for second place in terms of CPU performance with the considerably more expensive HP DL380 G6. Disk performance was not particularly good but this can be attributed to the fact that the server was delivered with the incorrect BIOS settings, discovered only after testing had completed. It would be safe to assume that the drive performance on a correctly configured server would be at least comparable to the R1150.

Verdict

The Xenon Radon R4550 Quad 2U has considerably more fault tolerance and LAN bandwidth than its less expensive R1150 stablemate and, with is 2U form factor, it is equivalent to at least four R1150s or moe when configured with four Nodes. The R4550 could conceivably handle a large slice of a medium company's virtual server requirements, although not as much as the HP c3000 enclosure but it's nowhere near as expensive.

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