HPE ProLiant DL20 Gen10 Management Overview
HPE integrated lights out (iLO) management has been an industry staple for generations. Modern servers are meant to be deployed in data centers and rarely if ever visited by an administrator unless a part has failed. In its most basic form, the iLO 5 basic allows administrative tasks such as editing BIOS and firmware settings, changing boot orders and one-time boot settings, getting system inventory and event logs, and powering on/ off the server.
Here is the blurb from HPE iLO 5 on iLO Advanced features:
Licensing iLO Advanced enables true Lights-Out Management by enabling many features:
- Authentication: Directory integration, Kerberos with Two-Factor authentication, CAC Smartcard Authentication
- Remote Console: Virtual KVM (Integrated Remote Console), Console capture, replay, and share, Text Console, Virtual Serial Port record and playback
- Virtual Media: Image file (.iso or .img), CD/DVD, floppy, USB-key, scripting, folder
- Power: Power-related reporting, power capping, thermal capping on some systems
- Scalable Manageability: Support for Federation Management commands to update firmware, control server power, use virtual media, and more
- Other: Email alerting, Remote syslog, and support for HPE Smart Array Secure Encryption
Visit the following website to learn more about iLO licensing and to download a free trial license key: www.hpe.com/info/ilo. (Source: HPE iLO 5)
Without iLO Advanced, one can do some fairly basic configuration. With iLO Advanced one gets not just what we see as industry standard features like iKVM and media, but also HPE’s advanced integrations and scalable management features. Every server that passes through the STH lab ends up getting the iLO Advanced functionality license.
Perhaps the feature that is going to be most important to the HPE ProLiant DL20 buyers is the iKVM management capabilities. This is the feature that allows for remote terminal access and also allows for remote media mounting. Without the iLO Advanced license, it is conspicuously absent on the HPE ProLiant DL20 Gen10. Instead one can use iKVM during POST and BIOS setup, but not once the server boots to the OS.
We saw this as an almost mandatory feature. HPE did not send us a unit with an iLO Advanced license and we lasted about 30 minutes before we simply broke down and bought one for the server. HPE’s competition, especially in the white box arena that is prevalent in this space, gives iKVM functionality for free. On the cost level associated with a ProLiant DL20 Gen10, adding this functionality is a significant burden since the license cost as a percent of system cost is much higher lower than on a HPE ProLiant DL380 Gen10 with dual processors.
HPE is somewhat stuck since it has standard pricing for iLO Advanced which is more than many of the CPU options for the HPE ProLiant Gen10 cost. HPE’s management solution is designed to manage large clusters of servers and increase automation functionality and information given. HPE iLO 5 is significantly more advanced than a low-cost white box server’s functionality in this space and HPE has a silicon root of trust that is needed to ensure BMC firmware and hardware security, a topic coming up more often. HPE iLO 5 may work well for managing large numbers of servers, and servers under a single pane of glass for organizations using the HPE ProLiant DL20 Gen10 as a remote branch office server or remote POP.
Smaller deployments say 1-10 servers, often have administrators that just want iKVM. On a tight budget, an iLO Advanced license on the HPE ProLiant DL20 Gen10 will mean a small customer has to choose between a lower-end CPU or less memory on the DL20 Gen10 with iLO Advanced for iKVM or a faster system with more memory in the white box space.
HPE iLO 5 has some really great features. You can see how the solution is designed for managing clusters of servers even without HPE Insight with features like iLO Federation. This is the type of feature that white box vendors, and even other large server vendors, do not have.
There is also a certain “cool” factor to HPE iLO 5’s interface. Here is a great example of the 3D temperature graph that can help you diagnose hot spots in the server.
HPE can also display heat maps in 2D fashion and below this view, there is a list of 14 temperature monitors that are labeled with their locations. Most management solutions have a table with temperature sensor readings, but few have the 3D temperature graph eye candy.
HPE iLO 5 has other features that are extremely useful for managing large numbers of servers. A simple example of this is that iLO 5 can show firmware versions not just of the UEFI firmware and BMC firmware, but it can show the firmware revisions of the complete system. That allows one to easily diagnose which servers in a large cluster need to be updated. Also, HPE has an easy manner to update this firmware from the management interface.
As one may expect, HPE iLO 5 provides standard features such as system logging.
Another advanced feature is that HPE Remote Support integration allows automated support for hardware failure and replacement. This is a feature white box vendors do not have, and only some of the large server vendors deliver.
Overall, we like HPE iLO 5. If the iKVM functionality was included with the server, or it was a nominal upgrade ($20 or so) then it would be superior to white box implementations in just about every area. Certainly, iLO Advanced is beyond standard remote management implementations. The catch is, for this market, iLO Advanced is too expensive.
We are going to get into our HPE ProLiant DL20 Gen10 test configurations and system topology next. We will then go into our performance testing which will be followed by power consumption testing and some of our concluding thoughts.