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The Gen8 makeover has turned the ugly MicroServer duckling into a fully-fledged ProLiant swan with a well-designed and superbly constructed chassis that inspires confidence from the word go.
Add in the dual-core Intel processor, Gigabit networking and embedded hypervisor option and you have a competent server that can be put to all manner of uses from simple file and print sharing to email, web and even database hosting if wanted. It also makes a good platform for developers to test out their code.
We particularly like the remote management tools. Previously only available as an optional add-in, these are immediately accessible via a browser and incredibly easy to use, enabling you to both monitor server status and activity and manage the configuration. You will, however, need to upgrade the software license to get remote console and virtual media support.
There wasn't a great deal we didn't like about the Gen8 MicroServer. The server has to be powered off to swap disks and only two of the bays are able to run at the full 6Gbps speed of the latest SATA drives, but neither is a major issue in the SME market.
If using Windows, you do need to factor in the cost of an operating system, but that doesn't necessarily apply to Linux which can be used instead, Support for more memory would be nice, too, and we would have liked a quieter fan, but that's about it as far as the gripes are concerned.
Virtually unrecognisable compared to previous models, the Gen8 ProLiant MicroServer is a serious and very capable small business server in a compact yet reassuringly well-engineered format.
All the hallmarks of the ProLiant Gen 8 brand are there, including support for Xeon processors, dual Gigabit networking and embedded hypervisor plus integrated Lights Out remote management as standard.
All in all, a very complete product with optional matching network switch, needing little more to finish it off.