HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 Plus OS Testing
HPE has a number of OSes in its support list. We, of course, would suggest sticking to this validation list if you want to stay in-bounds for support.
With that said, these machines are going to get used with many other OSes. So we tried checking out a few of the other options that are not necessarily on this list. When we did the hardware overview and said that the hardware is extremely well supported, we wanted to show some proof.
Below you can find our results with:
- Proxmox VE
- TrueNAS-Core (development)
- VMware ESXi
- Windows 10
- Windows Server 2019
These ten OSes we wanted to use to get a sense of how hard installing different environments are on the MSG10+.
MSG10+ with Ubuntu
We tried Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS server (Bionic) and that worked out of the box with the HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 Plus. We also wanted to try the latest desktop environment so we utilized a Ubuntu 19.10 release desktop LiveCD as well.
As you can see, it worked out of the box.
MSG10+ with CentOS 8
Since RHEL 8 is on the official compatibility list, we guessed that CentOS 8 (1911) would work on the MicroServer Gen10 Plus.
We were not disappointed and this worked out-of-the-box. One item to be aware of is that the service NIC shows up in the installer. You want to use one of the Intel i350 NICs. Luckily they were enumerated in the same order that we see labeled on the chassis which is why we are using a single NIC plugged in here. It is easy to tell which is #1 if only #1 is connected.
MSG10+ with Proxmox VE
Proxmox VE is a very popular open-source Linux-based virtualization and container stack built on Debian Linux. It offers KVM for virtual machines and LXD containers. For storage, it integrates ZFS, Ceph, GlusterFS, LVM, and more. One of the interesting capabilities of Proxmox VE is that it handles clustering and high-availability across the cluster. If you want to have a KVM-virtualization cluster backed by Ceph storage with HA on your MicroServer cluster, Proxmox VE does it with a GUI and without VMware licensing.
For this, we used Proxmox VE 6.1-1 and the standard installer ISO. We tried two modes. One installation we utilized a SATA SSD. The other we used a USB drive that fails on some systems.
Here, both installations work without issue. This took only a few minutes to set up.
MSG10+ with FreeNAS
FreeNAS is an extremely popular NAS operating system that is run in many locations on systems very similar to the MicroServer Gen10 Plus. Indeed, many previous-generation MicroServers have been used as FreeNAS storage machines.
We fired up the FreeNAS 11.3 U1 installer via an iLO mounted ISO and the install went along smoothly.
Within a few minutes we had FreeNAS installed and we were at the WebGUI.
FreeNAS is built upon FreeBSD. There are times, such as with the Intel Atom C3000 NIC where FreeBSD, and by extension FreeNAS, are very slow to support new hardware. In this case, sine HPE is using the proven Xeon E platform and the Intel i350-am4 NIC, everything works out-of-the-box.
MSG10+ with TrueNAS-Core
We covered that in Q3 of 2020 TrueNAS-Core will merge with and replace FreeNAS as the free offering in the popular NAS space. You can read more information about that switch in FreeNAS is Dead Long Live TrueNAS CORE.
We wanted to see the status of TrueNAS-Core since many will read this review and ask in a few months when the new version is released and FreeNAS branding is retired. We used the 2020-03-09 nightly build installer ISO to see how compatibility is coming along.
Installation overall went very smoothly.
As you can see, the MSG10+ is already working with a software platform that will not be out for more than a quarter. This is the power of using well-supported parts.
MSG10+ with Unraid
Unraid is another popular edge storage and virtualization solution. Unlike some of the other open-source models, Unraid uses an affordable license that is relatively inexpensive for smaller 4-bay units like this.
Here, we simply burned the OS image to a USB 3.0 flash drive and Unraid 6.8.3 worked out-of-the-box.
MSG10+ with VMware ESXi
VMware ESXi 6.5-U3 and 6.7-U3 are on the official HCL. VMware is very popular but hardware support can be challenging at times. We wanted to expand on the OS compatibility list, so we picked up an earlier ESXi 6.5 image and installed that.
As you can see, this installed without issue. Since HPE is using the Intel i350-am4 that is popular on supported mainstream rackmount servers, ESXi already has the driver and works out-of-the-box. There is no adding a driver to the installation image to get a NIC working here, everything works.
You can see that we are using the Xeon E-2224 for this and not the Pentium Gold G5420 version. HPE notes that ESXi is only supported with Xeon E and not the Pentium model.
As a quick note here, since this is using the HPE S100i SATA controller, which is essentially the Intel PCH chipset SATA, one cannot use the onboard RAID function with VMware. VMware does not play with software RAID here which is somewhat ridiculous in 2020, but that is where we are with the legacy enterprise virtualization vendor. You will need a SmartArray option for hardware RAID which will use your PCIe slot making higher-speed networking impossible.
MSG10+ with XCP-ng
For those who are not familiar, XCP-ng is a project that is designed to take over as the open fork of XenServer after some licensing/ directional changes. Although most cloud providers have moved to KVM, Xen virtualization is still popular for many and the MicroServer Gen10 Plus can make a great lab or edge deployment platform. We booted XCP-ng on the MSG10+ and installed from the standard 8.0 installation ISO.
As you may have guessed at this point, this worked without issue.
MSG10+ with Microsoft Windows 10
Some may wonder whether one can run a Microsoft Windows 10 OS on the Microserver Gen10 Plus. Some users like the lower cost licensing versus server variants and want to use Windows 10. We figured, why not?
This worked without issue without requiring additional drivers to get to the desktop with functioning networking. This is an important state because if you were to add additional hardware or want to update drivers, having a functioning 1GbE interface where you can pull drivers from a remote location is important.
MSG10+ with Microsoft Windows Server 2019
Microsoft Windows Server 2019 is on the HPE MicroServer Gen10 Plus compatibility list, along with WS2016. We gave it a shot here.
As we expected based on HPE’s compatibility list, this worked without issue.
This gives us a great perspective that the system is extremely well-supported out-of-the-box in major OSes. The next question we aim to answer is the performance which is what we will tackle next.