In light of the approaching Windows Server 2003 end of support deadline on July 14, we have profiled options users have for spinning up new hardware designed to take advantage of the robust features Windows Server 2012 has to offer. We have already taken a look at offerings from Dell PowerEdge and HP ProLiant lines. Now let’s check out what Lenovo ThinkServer hardware has to offer.
Lenovo ThinkServer TS140
Workload: Small office or workgroup deployment
Ideal use: A good fit for environments that need a small starter server. It runs quiet enough to be set on a desk in the front office. Should you wish to mount it to a server rack it can be turned on its side to do so. Typically budget servers like the TS140 are deployed as a file server or print server—basically it has computing power for managing one task.
The TS140 is powered by an Intel Core i3 4130 3.4 Ghz CPU, a touch faster than Microsoft’s minimum recommended CPU power for running Windows Server 2012 (3.2 GHz). It comes with 4 GB of DDR3 RAM, which should suffice for basic office tasks, including authentication for users across a network, and Active Directory.
It is built for scalability, featuring four expansion slots for hard disk drives (HDDs)—which gives it RAID 5 capability—as well as peripheral component interface express (PCIe) ports.
If you are considering a Windows Server 2012 Standard deployment which includes the ability to host up two virtual machines, note that hardware is beefy enough to handle virtualization. However, according to reviews, installing VMWare ESXi requires simple driver updates and a USB flash drive installation of the software, which can be accomplished using a USB to SATA adapter cable.
Lenovo ThinkServer TS440
Workload: Small or medium offices with plans for growth
Ideal use: File storage and backup is the main thrust of this highly expandable storage server. It has eight hot-swappable bays in total; four accommodate 3.5-inch SATA HDDs and four for 2.5-inch SATA HDDs. This gives users RAID (1/0/10/5) storage to grow into—a great choice for a growing business with increasing data storage needs.
Performance is optimized by a ThinkServer RAID 100 Adapter, and powered along by an Intel Xeon E3 1225 3.6 GHz CPU.
You will notice that prices for the TS440 vary, and that has to do with the drives and RAM that are sold with each SKU. This base-level TS440 starts in the low $700s.
Lenovo ThinkServer RS140
Workload: Small or medium offices, branch locations
Ideal use: This versatile rack server has a slim 1U design and runs a range of operating systems. It supports both two post racks and four post racks. The Intel Xeon E3 1200 CPU is designed for streaming media, games, and other graphics-intensive Web content.
ThinkServer RS140 models that come with Intel’s Advanced Management Technology (AMT) on the CPU are suited for remote management deployments.
For storage space, the RS140 offers up to 32 GB of RAM and up to 8 TB of internal storage. Should you wish to attach additional RAID arrays, no problem; the RS140 features three PCIe slots for storage expansion.
Lenovo ThinkServer RS340
Workload: Medium offices
Ideal Use: The RD340 is an extremely configurable 1U rack server. It has enough in the way of hardware to tackle data intensive applications like video editing and 3D rendering, as this model comes with an ASPEED graphics controller model AST2300 installed.
Additionally it features dual Xeon E5 CPUs and 8 GB of installed RAM. Expansion slots abound as well. There is a low-profile PCIe card and one full-height PCIe card for attaching addition memory arrays or graphics processing units (GPU). The rear panel includes four USB 2.0 ports, a VGA port and three GbE Ethernet ports.
According to third party estimates, you can expect the RD340 to handle up to 75 users in a Windows Server 2012 capacity. Used as an e-mail Exchange server, 1,000 users can be accommodated; up to 400 users for Apache Web serving; up to 25 Active Directory clients, and capable of spinning up to 15 virtual machines.
What has your experience been with Lenovo servers? Let us know in the comments if you have ever deployed a Lenovo ThinkServer.
Join the discussion 3 Comments
Nice piece on the TS140 which IMHO is a price performer for smaller environments looking for something with the capability of supporting larger numbers of users across different environments. I have a bunch of TS140s that are used for various things from being VMware hosts supporting Linux, Windows/Hyper-V as well as being bare metal servers for Windows, Ubuntu. They are my workhorses because they have good flexibility for reconfiguring, or simply leverage for performance as standalone systems or in a small cluster.
Thanks Greg. Loved your tips for running VMware on those boxes, btw.