Pogo Linux PerformanceWare worth jumping on

Packed with processing power and easy to manage, this 3U server is priced to move

Like a sports car that combines a big engine with a small body, the Pogo Linux PerformanceWare 3564 3U server packs a lot of processing power into a relatively small chassis. And though it performs like a hot rod, comes fully loaded with software, and handles like a dream thanks to stellar management tools, the 3564 is priced competitively.

My test system, priced at just less than $18,000, came equipped with four Opteron 848 2.2GHz processors (the four-way SMP version of the 284); 4GB of RAM; an Adaptec 2120S single-channel RAID controller with a 64MB cache, occupying one of the four 64-bit 133MHz PCI slots; two 36GB SCSI drives in a RAID 0 configuration; two Broadcom Gigabit Ethernet ports; and the integrated management processor.

The appliance also comes with dual redundant

hot-swap power supplies and a large number of hot-swappable fans, ensuring that cooling will continue, even if one fan quits.

Nice and Manageable

The management processor, controlled by a preinstalled management utility, offers out-of-band remote management of the server, including access to system and RAID controller BIOS, rebooting, power, and system monitoring. These functions can be accessed via SNMP, for integration with network management packages such as OpenView. While Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and other vendors offer integrated management processors, the costs are substantially higher.

Admins can configure the management processor’s network information through a small front panel. Once the simple configuration is done, you can configure all the other hardware through the management processor.

Also included is Webmin, a Web-based Unix GUI utility, which provides for configuration of most of what an administrator needs, from IP network information to the Apache Web server or MySQL server. Written in Perl, Webmin can be used with any browser that supports tables and forms.

The PerformanceWare came running Suse Linux Enterprise Server 8. The server is also available with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 or Fedora Core 1 64-bit. Though Pogo Linux doesn’t offer Windows preinstalled, you could certainly install it without any hiccups, as all the components are industry standard.

A wide array of servers come preinstalled and ready to configure on the 3564, but they come disabled by default for security reasons. They include: Samba (for file services), a mail server, SpamAssassin anti-spam services, a proxy server, a list server, a DNS server, Apache Web server, MySQL database server, and more.

The PerformanceWare’s default interface is KDE 3.0.3, a very usable GUI, but Gnome 2.2 is available for those who prefer it.

Impressive Performer

I tested performance by simulating large numbers of users accessing the Apache Web server and MySQL database server. Performance was about 10 percent faster than the fastest four-way system I’ve tested, the four-processor Itanium 2 1.5GHz HP Integrity rx5670.

The Pogo box also was a little more than 20 percent faster than the last four-way Xeon 3.2 GHz system I looked at, the Dell PowerEdge 6650. This is an excellent result from a system that costs less than HP’s and Dell’s.

Some administrators may be less comfortable with the 3564 than with some of the big name boxes from HP, Dell, or IBM. However, if you can get past that, you’ll find the 3564 offers superb performance at a low price, with excellent manageability and redundancy. Any administrator looking for a high-end Linux server should take Pogo Linux for a test drive.

InfoWorld Scorecard
Performance (20.0%)
Serviceability (10.0%)
Management (20.0%)
Scalability (20.0%)
Availability (20.0%)
Value (10.0%)
Overall Score (100%)
Pogo Linux PerformanceWare 3564 9.0 9.0 9.0 9.0 9.0 10.0 9.1