Dell introduced the PowerEdge R610 nearly three years ago with three goals in mind. The company wanted to make server management simpler, offer a practical and purposeful design and improve energy efficiency.

The Intel-based dual-socket server is a 1U model that is part of Dell's PowerEdge stalwart server range (the 11th generation) and was at its launch, hailed by many as one of the best rack servers on the market. It has since been replaced by the R620 which boosts a very similar design and updated innards.

It can take either two quad-core or two six-core Intel Xeon processors (5500 or 5600 series, with 4MB or 8MB L3 cache) with an Intel 5520 chipset tasked with handling up to 192GB of DDR3 system memory spread over 12 DIMM slots. Other features include a Matrox G200 video chip with 8MB of memory, a DVD drive plus a nifty little LCD display.

The latter displays basic system health data plus alerts and control of basic management configuration straight from the front of the server. There's also an AC power meter and ambient temperature thmermometer built within the server that works without any additional piece of software.

The R610 offers some very decent expansion capabilities. The base unit include three USB ports, a serial port, two DSub connectors, two PCIe x8 slots plus one storage x4 slot, a choice of PERC RAID controllers, up to six hot-pluggable 2.5in SAS or SSD drives, two dual port embedded Broadcom NetXtreme II 5709c Gigabit Ethernet NIC with failover and load balancing plus a pair of hot-pluggable 502W Energy Smart PSU.

Dell says that it can handle up to 12TB of storage although we have yet to see mainstream 2TB SSD/SAS HDDs.

Beyond the hardware, Dell kitted the server with a number of other features including an advanced thermal control and a Lifecycle Controller which makes the life of the system administrator so much easier by allowing them to access provisioning functions such as system deployment, system updates, hardware configuration and diagnostics from a single dashboard called the Unified Server Configurator.

There's also a new Dell Management Console powered by Altiris from Symantec which allows users to have a unified perspective on a single view and a common data source into the entire infrastructure handled by the server.