HP ProLiant MicroServer Gen8 review

We put HP's server through its paces and the results are positive

HP ProLiant MicroServer Gen8
HP's refreshed model showed little in the way of weaknesses

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As with previous models the new ProLiant MicroServers have just the one processor socket with three dual-core configurations to choose from, all now based on Intel chips.

Ours was the so-called "Entry" model which meant we got a 2.3GHz Celeron G1610T (2MB cache, 35W TDP), supported by 2GB DDR3 memory. This we found selling online for around £300 (around US$510/AU$542) ex VAT while for £355 (around US$604/AU$643) you can get a "Base" model which replaces the Celeron with a Pentium G2020T (2.5GHz, 3MB cache, 35W TDP) at the same time doubling up on the RAM to 4GB.

Lastly, there's a Xeon-powered model with an E3-12202Lv2 processor (2.3GHz, 3MB, 17W TDP) plus 8GB of memory which we found advertised for £480 (around US$815, or AU$867) ex VAT.

Error correcting memory is specified across the board with just two DIMM slots available, just one of which will be populated on the standard models. The maximum you can configure is 16GB which is more than adequate for general file sharing but a little limiting if you've virtual servers in mind; something HP clearly anticipates as it provides internal USB and SD Card to enable the server to boot an embedded hypervisor from a flash memory device.

Alternatively, some buyers have ditched the slimline DVD drive and managed to fit an SSD boot disk into the space at the top of the server instead.

Storage options

Talking of storage, there are four slots to take 3.5in SATA drives cabled to an on-board HP Smart Array controller (a B120i). Disks aren't included in the price, however, and the B120i controller only supports RAID 0 striping or RAID 1/10 mirroring which means plugging another card into the single PCIe slot to get RAID 5. Easy to do, but the cost plus the lack of hot-swap support could rule it out for a lot of buyers.

MicroServer Gen8 plus switch

Two Gigabit ports and optional matching network switch

As well as two front-mounted USB 2.0 ports there are two more at the back for a keyboard and mouse plus two USB 3.0 ports to either expand the storage or provide for fast backup. Two Gigabit Ethernet ports are also located just above and, for neatness, an optional fanless 8-port switch with port aggregation facilities (the HP PS1810-8G available for around £90 - around US$153, or AU$163 - ex VAT) which can be stacked underneath or on top of the new server.

iLO4 management

Integrated Lights Out remote management now standard

Lastly, there's HP's integrated Lights Out remote management controller (iLO4) with its own dedicated networking interface on the back panel. Previously only available via on an add-in card, this now comes as standard, enabling the MicroServer to be monitored and managed over the LAN using an intuitive browser-based interface.

It's not something you use all the time, but it's great to have there on the MicroServer, making it just like the big boys of the Gen8 ProLiant family.