• United States
Neal Weinberg
Contributing writer, Foundry

More on HP blade servers

Jun 05, 20033 mins

* This time the Reviewmeister takes a look at HP's e-Class blade server

HP’s BL e-Class blade server is a 3U chassis that can house a maximum of 20 single-processor blades. Our e-Class was shipped with four single-processor blades. Two of the blades (G1 version) had 800-MHz processors; the other two (G2 version) had 900-MHz processors. Windows 2000 and Linux were loaded on both blade versions. The e-Class blade is designed for front-end Web services and single-purpose light-load services, such as DNS and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol.

Features of the e-Class include two built-in redundant, hot-swappable, load-balancing 120-volt AC power supplies. The chassis has a centralized management chipset instead of each blade having its own management hardware. Our e-Class chassis was shipped with two Gigabit Ethernet switches built into the enclosure. These switches aggregate the 10/100 Ethernet connections from the chassis blades to one Gigabit Ethernet connection from each switch to the network. The switches have cross-connect ports to provide redundant connections to the network from any blade. This redundancy feature worked fine. If a customer doesn’t want a Gigabit Ethernet switch, HP offers an RJ-45 and an RJ-21 patch panel option for connecting individual blades to a network.

The hot-swappable e-Class blades have one Ultra-Low Voltage Pentium III processor. The 800-MHz blade has one fixed 40G-byte Ultra ATA/100 4,200-RPM hard drive. The 900-MHz model has a faster 5,400-RPM drive. Other than the processor and hard drive, the two blade models are identical. The blades come with two on-board 10/100 Ethernet NICs.

For management, the e-Class server includes an additional Integrated Administrator tool, which handles remote access to an e-Class blade’s operating system. Insight Manager is used to monitor e-Class and p-Class blades. The Insight Manager can detect and report system hardware and operational faults. The Integrated Administrator application was easy to use, but it initially was confusing whether to use Integrated Administrator or Insight Manager. The Insight Manager monitors both blades’ server hardware, including blades, switches and supporting services (and Remote Desktop Protocol, DHCP and DNS servers). Insight Manager has a discovery feature that finds all network components on the network.

Keyboard, video and mouse (KVM ) functions are handled through remote access to the server. The e-Class blade has a large dongle that plugs into the front of the blade for KVM connections. The limitation is the dongle can only plug into one blade at a time, and the dongle physically has to be moved from one blade to another. The blade system can be turned on and off remotely through the management tools or can be powered off and on from the front panel of the blade. For the full report, go to