IT Life

2006 Products Of The Year

These 10 rule-changers promise to help enterprises break free of the pack in development tools, security software, networking hardware and more.
SuperServer 5015M-MR

When it comes to servers, smaller is better, at least when it comes to physical size.

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Supermicro Computer, San Jose, Calif., is pushing the small-size envelope with its SuperServer 5015M-MR, a diminutive rack-mount server that sports dual-core technology. For solution providers looking to reduce the server footprint at their clients' sites, the 5015M-MR offers an inexpensive alternative to blade servers. At just 1U high and 14 inches deep, VARs could install five units in the space a typical blade chassis occupies—at a much lower cost.

As small as the SuperServer 5015M-MR is, it supports the latest dual-core Pentium D processors. A dual-core processor can work on two tasks at once without having applications compete for processing power. For less-expensive configurations, the server also supports Pentium 4 Extreme, Pentium 4 and Celeron D processors.

The SuperServer 5015M-MR has an expansion slot that supports PCI and PCI-X cards, and it supports PCI-Express x8 cards using an optional riser board. It only has one 3.5-inch hard drive bay but will accept up to 8 Gbytes of memory. The server is optimized for and sized right for security appliances such as firewalls and VPNs. Supermicro sells this server as a barebones white-box unit for only $600, and fully configured units are available from distributors. A typical configuration would contain a 3.2GHz dual-core Pentium D processor, 4 Gbytes of memory and a 300-Gbyte SATA hard drive, all for less than $1,500.

Four DIMM sockets on the motherboard support up to 8 Gbytes of unbuffered dual-channel ECC DDRII 667/533MHz memory. The motherboard also houses dual-port Intel 82573V PCI-Express Gigabit Ethernet and a SATA II controller. An on-board ATI RageXL graphics controller has 8 Mbytes of its own memory. An on-board IDE controller supports up to two UDMA IDE devices, one typically a TEAC 24X slimline CD-ROM drive.

While the company's channel program favors VARs selling in volume, the unit's unique form factor makes it a worthwhile consideration for solution providers seeking an alternative for blades. The low price tag, small form factor and customization options earn the 5015M-MR the Product of the Year nod in the server category.

-- Marc Spiwak