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By Francis Chu  |  Posted 2002-09-23 Print this article Print

: Comparable Scalability"> Comparable Scalability

The LX50 matches its rivals good scalability; it can support as many as three hard drives by replacing the CD-ROM and floppy drives with a SCSI hard drive. The server can also support as much as 6GB of memory in six dual in-line memory module slots.

The LX50 server has a starting price of $2,795 with a single 1.4GHz Pentium III processor and 512MB of memory. By comparison, a similarly configured IBM xSeries 330 lists for more than $2,900, and the Dell PowerEdge 1650 costs about $2,700. (Go to www. for the Labs March 18 review of the PowerEdge 1650.)

Although the LX50 has many hardware similarities to its competitors, it doesnt offer integrated management processors, as are found in the xSeries and ProLiant servers. Nor does the LX50 offer embedded RAID controllers.

The LX50 has two PCI slots for expansion: a standard full-length and a low-profile half-length PCI slot. The server comes standard with two 10/100M-bps NICs but doesnt offer embedded copper Gigabit NICs. This will limit the servers performance capability in high network traffic. To shore up the server for high traffic, IT managers will need to purchase a PCI Gigabit adapter for the LX50, taking up one of the servers two PCI slots.

For Web sites with high network traffic demands, a competing system might be a better option. Dell, HP and IBM offer dual embedded copper Gigabit NICs on their 1U servers.

The LX50 ships with a management agent for the Sun Cobalt Control Station, which is based on the Cobalt RaQ 4r appliance. The Control Station allows IT mangers to control and monitor Cobalt RaQ appliances and LX50 servers. The Sun Cobalt Control Station comes with four pre-installed control modules for inventory management, performance monitoring, software management and health monitoring (for hardware conditions such as CPU temperature, fan speeds and so on).

The Control Station can greatly reduce operational costs when used to manage large numbers of systems. However, it works with only Suns Cobalt appliances and the LX50 server and requires an additional hardware investment of $5,000.

The LX50 also can be managed via standard SNMP with third-party management tools such as Computer Associates International Inc.s Unicenter, HPs OpenView and Intels Server Manager, but wed like to see integrated management in the LX50. By comparison, HP and IBM offer embedded server processors in their rack-mount Intel servers that provide remote management and monitoring capabilities.

Technical Analyst Francis Chu can be reached at


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