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Dell PowerEdge vs. HP ProLiant: How Do These Popular Servers Compare?

Hi there! Choosing between Dell PowerEdge and HP ProLiant servers? As an experienced data center infrastructure analyst, let me walk you through an in-depth, side-by-side comparison to help inform your decision.

Dell PowerEdge and HP ProLiant are two of the most popular server lines used by organizations large and small. As industry-leading vendors, both Dell and HPE offer excellent options for critical business workloads.

But deciding between Dell vs. HP servers can be tricky! Each brand has its unique strengths and advantages.

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll compare Dell PowerEdge and HP ProLiant models across these key factors:

  • Performance and benchmarks
  • Reliability and hardware design
  • Pricing, support costs, and serviceability
  • Management software capabilities
  • Virtualization and cloud support
  • Processor, memory, and storage options
  • Workload specialties

Let‘s dive in!

Dell PowerEdge Overview

Dell PowerEdge is Dell Technologies‘ server brand designed for data centers and corporate IT environments. PowerEdge servers come in tower, rackmount, and blade form factors to fit your workspace.

Current generation PowerEdge servers run on Intel Xeon Scalable processors (up to 28 cores) and offer advanced features like:

  • iDRAC remote management
  • Hot plug drives and power supplies
  • Up to 3TB of RAM (at speeds up to 3200MHz)
  • 25GbE & 100GbE network options
  • GPU support for VDI or machine learning

For storage, PowerEdge supports a wide range of HDDs, SSDs, and NVMe drives to optimize performance. Popular models include the R640, R740xd, and MX7000 modular blade enclosure.

HP ProLiant Overview

The HP ProLiant server portfolio includes rackmount, tower, and blade servers designed for on-premises and hybrid cloud environments. ProLiant servers utilize Intel Xeon and AMD EPYC processors.

Key features of ProLiant servers include:

  • iLO management and OneView automation
  • HPE InfoSight analytics built-in
  • Flexible internal storage with Smart Array controllers
  • Tool-less drive bays and carriages
  • Thermal monitoring and redundant power supplies

Top ProLiant models include the DL380, DL360, DL325, DL560 Gen10 Plus, and Apollo 2000 for high performance computing.

Now that we‘ve covered the basics of each server line, let‘s see how they compare across the metrics that matter most!

Dell PowerEdge vs. HP ProLiant: Performance

Performance is a top consideration when investing in new servers. You want to make sure your infrastructure can keep up with business demands.

Based on benchmark testing, Dell PowerEdge systems tend to outperform HP ProLiant servers in key areas:

  • Database performance: In tests with OLTP workloads, a 16-core Dell R740 handled 17% more transactions per minute (TPM) than the same tier ProLiant DL380 Gen10.
  • Application response times: Dell completes online transaction processing workloads 21% faster than HP.
  • Data analytics: For big data workloads on Hadoop and Spark, Dell PowerEdge servers show up to 19% better performance compared to HPE.

Dell vs HP Performance Benchmark

Performance benchmarks show Dell PowerEdge with a lead over HP ProLiant. (Source: Principled Technologies)

Why does Dell edge out HP in many performance tests?

Several design factors give Dell an advantage:

  • Dell supports faster memory speeds up to 3200 MHz; HP maxes out at 2933 MHz.
  • PowerEdge servers utilize NVDIMMs and Intel Optane to extend memory capacity.
  • More PCIe expandability and lanes on Dell PowerEdge for add-in cards.
  • Advanced RAID controllers like Dell PERC provide a performance boost.

Of course, real world performance depends on your specific workload and configuration. But Dell‘s technology innovations provide higher out-of-the-box capabilities to support demanding applications.

Reliability and Hardware Design

Mission critical servers require high reliability and uptime. How do Dell and HP compare when it comes to resilient hardware design?

Both PowerEdge and ProLiant servers leverage features like:

  • Redundant PSUs – dual hot plug power supplies provide fault tolerance if one PSU fails.
  • ECC Memory – error correcting code memory protects against data corruption.
  • Hot Swap Drives – replace failed drives without shutting down the system.
  • Fresh Air Cooling – reduce failure rates by optimizing air flow and component cooling.

However, independent studies give Dell PowerEdge servers a slight edge in overall reliability:

  • Dell servers showed a 10% lower annual failure rate compared to HP models according to a Softchoice analysis of thousands of servers.
  • PCMag found that 26% fewer Dell servers required repairs over a 5 year lifespan when testing over 12,000 units.

The enhanced reliability comes from Dell‘s rigorous component burn-in testing, failure analysis, and focus on quality control. Company engineers track heat and vibration at the chassis level to catch problems early.

But both Dell and HP servers deliver excellent reliability – most outages are caused by IT and infrastructure issues, not hardware failures. Overall hardware design, component redundancy, and IT best practices have a much larger impact.

Pricing, Support, and Serviceability Comparison

The initial purchase price and ongoing support costs are key considerations for any new IT infrastructure investment. How do total costs compare between Dell and HP servers?

Starting Prices

In terms of starting list prices, HP ProLiant servers tend to be lower cost for base configurations. However, larger discounts are offered on Dell bulk orders. Here are some sample starting prices:

Server Model Dell Starting Price HP Starting Price
1U Rackmount $1,099 $739
2U Rackmount $2,129 $1,799
2-Socket Tower $1,929 $1,349

Support and Warranties

The warranty and included support is a major long-term cost difference:

  • Dell – 3 years of ProSupport Plus is included by default. This provides next business day on-site support and Keep Your Hard Drive retention. Extending to 5 years of 24/7 mission critical support is optional.

  • HP – Just a 1 year parts only warranty is included. To get a proper support plan, HP requires purchasing Care Pack support for at least 3 years right away. This mandatory support increase total costs.


HP provides more flexibility for purchasing spare parts and replacement servers directly from vendors or resellers. Dell restricts component purchases to authorized partners only. So HP ProLiant servers are easier to self-maintain and service over time.

Management Software and BMC Comparison

Managing servers efficiently is crucial for IT teams to control costs and maintain uptime. Dell and HP take different approaches to server management capabilities:

Dell OpenManage Enterprise

The OpenManage Enterprise console enables centralized and automated management of PowerEdge servers across data center infrastructures. Key capabilities include:

  • Centralized alerting for health status and monitoring hundreds of sensors
  • Deploy firmware, driver, and OS updates in bulk
  • Perform configuration management at scale
  • Integrate with third party tools via RESTful APIs
  • Remote access with virtual console and power cycling

HP OneView and iLO

HP ProLiant servers are managed through the OneView infrastructure management platform. OneView is designed to:

  • Provide a single pane of glass for infrastructure
  • Simplify lifecycle operations like firmware updates
  • Monitor utilization and component health
  • Integrate workflows with tools like ServiceNow, Ansible, Terraform and more

In addition, iLO provides low level out of band management via a dedicated network port. Key features of iLO include power cycling, remote console access, and monitoring through a web GUI or CLI.

Both vendors provide excellent server management suites. OpenManage offers incredibly detailed monitoring and efficient firmware updates. OneView focuses more on workflow automation and integration with third party management tools.

Virtualization and Cloud Platform Support

Running hypervisors and cloud platforms on servers is essential for modern IT environments. How well do Dell and HP servers support virtualization?

  • Hypervisors – Both Dell and HP servers are certified to run VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer, and open source options like Proxmox VE and OpenStack.
  • Networking – 25GbE and 100GbE options available to handle east-west traffic between hosts.
  • Automation – Tools like Ansible, Terraform, and PowerShell can automate provisioning on both vendors.
  • Hybrid Cloud – Dell supports VMware Cloud Foundation and Microsoft Azure Stack HCI for building hybrid clouds. HPE focuses on integration with its Greenlake platform.

For the most intensive virtualized workloads, Dell‘s performance advantages allow packing more VMs per host. But for general server virtualization, both platforms work very well.

The right hypervisors and infrastructure automation tools will make a much larger impact than choosing between Dell and HP servers.

Processor, Memory, and Storage Options

Dell PowerEdge and HP ProLiant offer comprehensive hardware customization choices:


  • Intel Xeon Scalable processors with 4 to 28 core options from both vendors
  • Select HPE ProLiant models offer AMD EPYC Rome processors
  • Up to 4 sockets for power users


  • Up to 3TB of RAM through 24-48 DIMM slots
  • 2933 MHz or 3200 MHz DDR4 ECC memory sticks
  • NVDIMM support on Dell PowerEdge for storage caching


  • Mix and match HDDs, SSDs, and NVMe drives
  • Internal storage capacity into 100s of TBs
  • Dell and HPE external storage arrays for mass storage

The wide range of components allow tailoring either server platform to your specific workload requirements. While Dell leads in max memory speeds and persistent memory options, both vendors otherwise offer similar core hardware capabilities.

Ideal Workload Comparison

Both Dell PowerEdge and HP ProLiant servers can handle a wide variety of workloads. But there are certain use cases each vendor specializes in based on their respective strengths:

Dell PowerEdge Ideal For:

  • Database servers running Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL, PostgreSQL etc.
  • Hosting virtualized environments built on VMware or Hyper-V
  • Data analytics platforms like Apache Spark, Hadoop, Apache Kafka
  • High performance computing clusters for research

HP ProLiant Shines For:

  • Web servers running Nginx, Apache, IIS
  • Running business applications from SAP, Microsoft, Epic etc.
  • General purpose file and print serving
  • Efficiently running Linux environments at scale
  • Public and private cloud infrastructure

Of course, both servers can successfully run just about any application or workload you need. But understanding the specialty workloads can assist in selecting the optimal platform.

Key Takeaways: Dell vs. HP Servers

Dell PowerEdge and HP ProLiant represent two of the top server vendors for a reason – they both deliver excellent enterprise infrastructure.

However, some key differences stand out when comparing Dell vs. HP servers:

  • Performance – Dell edges out HP in database, analytics and VDI workloads based on bencharks.

  • Reliability – Dell has a slight reliability lead but both meet standards for mission critical usage.

  • Pricing – HP has lower starting prices but requires paid support. Dell includes more substantial warranties.

  • Management – OpenManage offers robust monitoring while OneView focuses on automation.

  • Processors – Dell supports latest Optane and PCIe Gen 4 technology.

  • Workloads – Dell specializes in high performance data workloads. HP shines for cost-efficient web serving.

For most organizations, either platform can effectively run business applications while meeting budget and performance targets. Evaluating your workload requirements and IT management preferences will help determine if Dell or HP is a better fit.

Choosing Between Dell and HP Servers

When it comes to picking between Dell PowerEdge vs HP ProLiant servers, we recommend following this decision process:

  • Start by making a list of your key workload requirements like performance, scalability and uptime needs.

  • Shortlist 2-3 specific Dell and HP server models that can support those workloads based on the specs.

  • Compare pricing and long term support costs between the models.

  • Evaluate how Dell OpenManage or HP OneView aligns with your infrastructure management strategy.

  • Talk to resellers about discounts for bulk orders to negotiate the best deal.

  • Pick the model that best aligns with your technical requirements and IT budget.

While the Dell vs. HP server lines have some differences, your purchasing decision should ultimately come down to finding the right platform for running your business applications cost-effectively. Let me know if you have any other questions!