The HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 Plus is a follow-up to the HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 we reviewed and HP ProLiant Microserver Gen8. With this new generation, HPE is making some of the most significant changes that we have seen to date. If you are not familiar with the HPE ProLiant MicroServer line, it is a family of small servers meant for SMB offices and edge deployments. Generally, these are low power, low noise, single-socket servers.
Update: you can now read our formal ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 Plus Review.
HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 Key Changes
There are several big changes to the HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10. The form factor has changed, the CPUs have changed, iLO 5 can be added, more networking is included, and there are now more expansion capabilities. HPE has added a lot while keeping the noise levels in the 21dba range for quiet operation even in work areas.
Form Factor Change
The new MicroServer Gen10 Plus now has a more compact form factor. The unit is less than half the height of the previous generation at only 4.58″ or 11.7cm tall.
This form factor change is largely due to changing the internal layout. Instead of the previous drive layout with all drives in a row placed vertically, the drives are now placed in a side-by-side configuration with two columns and two rows for the four drives. One will notice that the optical drive bay has been sacrificed to make the unit smaller.
One will also notice that this unit appears to be powered via an external power source since there is only a DC input. HPE says the unit is good for up to 180W even in this compact design.
CPU and Expansion Changes
While the previous generation MicroServer was based on the AMD Opteron X3000 series, with options such as the AMD Opteron X3421, HPE in this generation is moving back to Intel. Specifically, we are seeing pre-configured models with the latest Intel Xeon E-2200 Series such as the Intel Xeon E-2224. This offers an enormous boost in CPU performance. Beyond CPU performance, it also opens up more expansion capabilities.
With the new model, we get a low-profile PCIe Gen3 x16 slot which adds an enormous amount of flexibility to the line. We also get two DDR4 UDIMM slots that support ECC memory. HPE lists 2x 16GB or 32GB as the maximum that is supported in the platform. Technically, the Xeon E-2200 series can support 32GB DIMMs so this is something we want to test. One will also notice that there are two front-panel USB 3.2 Gen2 ports and four USB 3.2 Gen1 ports on the rear. There is even an internal Type-A USB 2.0 header as we find on many higher-end servers. Other expansion includes a VGA and DisplayPort 1.0 for video output.
Networking and iLO 5 Changes
Networking is another major story. We move from dual 1GbE ports on the previous model to quad 1GbE ports on this newer model. The official spec sheet says this is an “Embedded Intel i350 AM41Gb 4-port network controller.” That is a big deal. The Intel i350 is a higher-end 1GbE adapter and is supported out-of-the-box by virtually every OS.
With this generation, iLO is making a comeback. HPE has an iLO 5 Enablement Kit with a dedicated PCIe x1 riser slot for an out-of-band NIC. One can buy iLO 5 Advanced and support for this MicroServer and manage it alongside higher-end units like the HPE ProLiant DL325 Gen10 we reviewed. A point of feedback we heard on the AMD-based Gen10 MicroServer was that the lack of an iLO option was unfortunate.
STH will have a full review of the new MicroServer when HPE gives us the go-ahead. This is a product we have been aware of for months now and have been eagerly anticipating. I actually sat with the team in Taipei in October 2019 and discussed the product. With the MicroServer Gen10 Plus the team, there certainly was talking about addressing points of feedback we gave, our readers gave, and that HPE noted as well.
Beyond the hardware, HPE has solutions to make OS installations such as Windows Server 2019 easier. We even saw HPE GreenLake mentioned in the datasheet.
Availability should happen in a few weeks, but we do not expect the wait to be long. Personally, I have been very excited about this server, and I cannot wait until we can share the full review. Stay tuned to STH for more.