The Dell PowerEdge R710 server was released recently when the Intel Nehalem processor was available for server OEMs. The R710 works well for the two-socket 2U server market, with a few minor irritations. One of the issues I face as an administrator is ensuring a smooth integration into the datacenter. This is mainly around cabling and just “how it feels” in a setup, as this is the detail information that is hard to get from photos available with the server. I’ve got my observations on this new server outlined below.

Cable management arm

One of the most important factors to a server is the practicality of the cable management. The R710 comes with a cable management arm and tray that work well. The arm and tray extend slightly deeper than the two-socket 2U predecessor, the PowerEdge 2950 III. The arm has a nice built-in containment using hoop and fabric connections. Figure A below shows the arm and tray:

Figure A

Power strain relief

Pretty much all servers irritate me in this regard, as there is very little strain relief for the inputs. The R710 is no exception. On this server, the power is fed through a standard C13 interface. Power connections are particularly important because they provide no assistance in protecting against accidental discharge. With the exception of USB connections, power is the only non-fixed position connections on most servers. The power connections are shown below:

Figure B

All cabled up

When the server is all loaded up, it functions as expected. My only irritation with the power is reduced by aligning my server cabling to the right, so that there is little movement on extension of the server within the rack. The tray is pretty good, and has a better feel than the previous generation server. Figure C below shows the server all loaded up:

Figure C

Cabling comfort is an area that isn’t well covered for servers, and when a new model is available it can be a leap of faith for many organizations. The R710 does better than its predecessor, and fits the bill nicely. Are you using this server yet? Share your comments below on connectivity.