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Lenovo's new ThinkServer: Low sticker price, lots of upgrade options

Tom Henderson | May 28, 2014
The RD 400 offers the power and flexibility of a server for the price of a high-end laptop

Lenovo gets points for improved management for system and disk and for a very strong offering of the latest operating systems and hypervisors as a preload — if of course at an optional price. A few clicks, and you get what you want from the box.

How We Tested
We received a sample server, and tested it in the lab, then our network operations center. The lab network consists of a switched Gigabit Ethernet network (D-Link switches) with Dell, Apple, and HP servers running various operating systems, VMware 5.5 and Hyper-V3, with PxE services via a Fedora VM atop VMware atop a Dell server.

The NOC network consists of a Gigabit Ethernet/10G Ethernet switched fabric, with HP, Dell, and other Lenovo server, a Dell/Compellent SAN, connected via Extreme Networks GBE and 10G Ethernet switch fabric. This in turn is connected to Expedient/nFrame's core routers, and we connect lab and NOC via Xfinity/Comcast broadband; approximately 13hops.

We tested the Lenovo ThinkServer RD440 by partially disassembling the unit, and after reassembly, testing our internal ISO images of Hyper-V/Windows 2012 R2, SUSE Linux, Red Hat Linux, Ubuntu 13.10 Linux (works), and Citrix XenServer. The Linux distros were tested after we patched the UEFI BIOS, a one-way step.

We used LMBench3 and SciMark2 as test platforms, comparing them to other servers in its class. We also pulled a drive to test the RAID configuration, and the firmware dutifully screamed bloody murder! And continued to run, re-integrating the drive upon re-insertion into the six drive SATA-300 Western Digital drive array we were sent. No fuss, no muss.


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