Lenovo's ThinkServer TS150 server reviewed

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Lenovo's ThinkServer TS150 server reviewed

The TS150 is an inexpensive Xeon-based server with plenty of features and room to grow.

The ThinkServer TS150 packs a lot into a compact and quiet chassis, with plenty of room to expand and good remote-management features. And from the beginning of September (2017), the TS150 will include a processor from Intel’s latest-generation (Kaby Lake) Xeon E3-1200v6 server range, though you might still find some models with older v5 chips.

The $1,229 entry-level model includes the 3.3GHz Xeon E3-1225 v6 chip and 8GB of RAM, but whichever chip you choose, you get four cores, 8MB of L3 cache and support for up to 64GB of 2,400MHz ECC DDR4 memory.

The T150 is solidly put together, and its side panel can be padlocked shut or secured with a Kensington lock for extra physical security. A slimline DVD drive sits at the top of the front panel, with two 5.25in device bays below. Lenovo also offers an optional internal USB RDX drive for local backup. A set of eight USB 3 ports are provided fore and aft, each of which can be individually enabled or disabled within the BIOS. At the rear, there's a VGA port and Lenovo's usual DisplayPort connector.

Inside the case, everything is neat and tidy, with easy access to the key areas for upgrade and maintenance. Our review system included a single 1TB SATA drive in the lower cold-swap carrier, but the motherboard offers six SATA connectors in total, and the case has mountings for four large-form-factor (LFF) hard disks and a single small-form-factor (SFF) drive.

Thanks to the motherboard's onboard SR 121i RAID controller, you can set up RAID0, 1 or 5 arrays; Lenovo can also supply an optional RAID 520i PCI-Express card, which adds support for hot-swap SAS3 drives, although the physical design of the server doesn't really lend itself to a hot-swap role.

To keep everything cool, there's an active CPU heatsink, plus a 9cm cooling fan at the rear – don't worry, both are quiet enough to keep your inner librarian happy. We recorded very low noise levels of only 36dB from a distance of 1m.

Unlike Dell's and HPE's entry-level servers, the TS150 doesn't come with embedded OS deployment tools. However, with the help of the bundled EasyStartup disk, we had Windows Server loaded and ready for action in 20 minutes. And while the TS150 can't match HPE's brilliant iLO4 remote-management chip, it does support Intel's vPro and AMT (active management technology).

Initially configured from the BIOS setup screen, this shares the embedded Gigabit Ethernet port and allows you to remotely monitor and control the server hardware from a web browser: it meant we were able to view settings, check the hardware status and manage power states from the other side of the building.

What’s more, with the right app, additional remote-management options become available. We tested this using Intel's free Manageability Commander utility: after providing the server's AMT IP address and credentials, the Commander connected to the server and presented us with plenty of useful tools. We could view the server's sensor data, check its event and alert logs and achieve full remote control of the BIOS screen and OS, via the built in remote-desktop tool.

This review is based on an article originally appeared at IT Pro.

The ThinkServer TS150 packs a lot into a compact and quiet chassis, with plenty of room to expand, Intel’s latest-generation server processor and good remote-management features at an affordable price.
From $1229 AUD
Tower with four LFF drive bays and one SFF bay; Intel Xeon E3-1200 v6 (or v5) Series processor; 8GB–64GB DDR; support for SATA drives (with SAS upgrade an option); 4 PCIe 3 slots, 1 Gigabit Ethernet and 8 USB 3.0 ports; 250W PSU.
Copyright © ITPro, Dennis Publishing

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