HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 Review

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HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 Power Consumption

We used our Extech TrueRMS Power Analyzer 380803 to take measurements at different points of the HPE Microserver Gen10’s use on 120V power in the embedded lab.

  • Power off: 2.1W
  • Idle: 15.2W
  • Average power: 33.8W
  • Max power observed: 50.5W

By removing ILO functionality, there is no need for a BMC. This removes a SoC from the motherboard along with a DRAM chip, a ROM chip, and surrounding components. For our purposes that means that the system uses several watts less than a system with a BMC.

Overall power consumption is excellent, and far below what we are seeing with the current generation of Intel Xeon E-2100 series platforms.

HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 Noise

On the noise front, the HPE ProLiant Microserver Gen10 is sub 30dba in our testing. It is quiet enough that when we add hard drives, and the drives are spinning to create power draw and heat, that the drives are the most audible part of the system.

Overall, the system was not absolutely silent, but close enough that if it is more than a meter away you are unlikely to notice the sound.

STH Server Spider: HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10

We started using the STH Server Spider as a quick way to give an easy visual representation of a server’s capabilities.

STH Server Spider HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10
STH Server Spider HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10

Here, the HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 has the capability set one would expect from a sub $400 system. This is not the system you get for density or high-performance applications. Instead, this is a lower-density, lower performance server when one needs to deploy a lightweight server and storage at the edge.

Final Words

For lower-end deployments, the HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 makes a lot of sense. It sips power and is quiet, which means you can put it on a shelf or a desk instead of in a data center. The AMD Opteron X3421 is fast enough for lightweight tasks such as storage, providing network services, and displaying dashboards or menus on 4K displays, but it is far from “powerful.”

Undoubtedly, the four 3.5″ bays are a standout feature. With low-cost 10TB drives, one can have an edge storage server these days with 20TB of storage at under $1200. HPE made some trade-offs to make this happen. We understand all of them but would urge the company to consider adopting an IPMI/ iKVM solution in the future.

Taking a step back from this as a pure server, one could also look at it as a NAS replacement. Comparing the HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 to a SMB/ SOHO focused NAS, like a Synology DS418play, one gets a faster processor and four times the RAM with more expansion capabilities with HPE. The Synology benefits from their DSM software which is leaps and bounds a better solution than HPE’s ClearOS. On the other hand, if you are a company or individual that likes to install Linux-based NAS and Docker for applications, then the HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 is by far a better solution.

Cost is perhaps the prevailing factor when one looks at the HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10. HPE managed to keep cost as low as possible and while keeping the unit compact and well-built given its design direction. For a few hundred dollars more, an organization can get into a HPE ProLiant ML110 Gen10 or a ML30 Gen10 which carry larger footprints as well. HPE did a great job segmenting the market to where the MicroServer Gen10 has a defined segment below its other tower servers, something that other vendors are not necessarily as good at.

After owning and using the HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 for a few months, this much is clear: the units are great small compact and quiet storage appliances, akin to a basic SMB NAS. Since getting the first unit, the temptation to turn one unit into a cluster of units for an office Ceph cluster has been constant. It is easy to see why the HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 has an almost cult-like following in the market. HPE’s product team did an excellent job with designing the machine for its target segment. Even if I personally may have drawn the line differently for some features, I appreciate the choices made that culminate in the HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 being perhaps the best sub-$400 and sub 10″x10″x10″ server on the market.

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REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design & Aesthetics
8.9
Performance
8.9
Feature Set
8.8
Value
9.5
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Patrick has been running STH since 2009 and covers a wide variety of SME, SMB, and SOHO IT topics. Patrick is a consultant in the technology industry and has worked with numerous large hardware and storage vendors in the Silicon Valley. The goal of STH is simply to help users find some information about server, storage and networking, building blocks. If you have any helpful information please feel free to post on the forums.

13 COMMENTS

  1. That conclusion is really insightful. If you want multiple low cost servers with hard drives for clustered storage, this is a really good platform. If you just want more power, I keep buying up into the ML110 G10 because that’s so much more powerful. It’s also larger so sometimes you can’t afford the space.

  2. Finally, an honest review that actually shows cons as well was what’s good.

    We use MSG10s at our branch offices. They’re great, but servicing them sucks. We’ve been training finance people to do the physical service on the MSG10s.

    One issue you didn’t bring up is that there’s a lock for the front to secure all the drives. We had one where it wasn’t locked, employee flipped the lock and ended breaking the bezel.

    I hope you guys do more ProLiant reviews. They need a site with technical depth and business sense reviewing their products not just getting lame 5 paragraph “it’s great” reviews.

    To anyone not using the MSG10, they do have downsides, but they’re cheap so you have to expect that it isn’t a Rolls Royce at a KIA price tag

  3. It’s too bad this doesn’t have dual x8 PCIe. It also needs 10G. This is 2019. To get 10G or 25G you’ve gotta burn the x8 which leaves you with only a x1 slot left. Can’t do much with that.

  4. What about the virtualization capabilities? In your article on the APU, your lscpu output reported AMD-V. It would be nice to know if it’s fully implemented in BIOS and if there are reasonable IOMMU groups. Also, Intel consumer/entry level processors lack Access Control Services support on the processors PCIe root ports, so would be nice to see what this AMD APU offers.

    Why do I care? Because it would be nice to have a dedicated VM running less trusted graphical applications for digital signage. In a home office use case, one could use virtualization to combine a Linux NAS and a Kodi HTPC on the same hardware. Exposing the Kodi VM instead of the server OS to your family might have advantages.

  5. Like the others small HPE ProLiant MicroServers in the past, an attractive looking little box. I wish it were possible to install an externally accessible SFF x8 mobile rack such as a Supermicro CSE-M28SAB and the motherboard had x2 SFF 8087 ports or better M28SACB and 8643, thus could have x2 RAID 10 volumes.

  6. Well, I suppose you could put a ZOTAC GT 710 1GB graphics card in the spare slot, as it is a purpose-built PCIe x1 card. Marginally better than the iGPU if you have the need, and handy to keep around if your onboard graphics quits working on a server and a small x1 slot is all you have left to work with.

  7. It is a very good system, I got two with the dual core APU and 16G memory. It is possible to use the PCIe slt for an SSD card as well, I have an intel i750 that fits inside and works fine. I reckon that a couple of modifications to a future design could really make it quite good.

    Running latest version of Solaris on this works a treat hosting files over NFS.

  8. The price of these just doesn’t justify the performance. I have an older model I was able to pick up for a great price (NEW) and works great for very small stuffs, but choked when I attempted a large ZFS Freenas setup.

  9. Under Test Configuration, you have 4x10Tb HDD’s and a 400GB SSD. I thought that that this machine could only handle a maximum of 16TB overall, is this not true?

  10. Does anybody know, if the harddisks can be used in JBOD mode? I intend to run a Linux-based software RAID-5, because i do not want to rely on the controller hardware and RAID-5 isn’t supported anyway. Power outage is no concern to me as i am using an UPS. Thanks for any experience shared.

  11. I cannot find anywhere if this little box does support hardware passthrough like VT-d for Intel. Can anybody tell?

  12. Got it as micro server. Noise and energy focused. thoughts:
    – louder than my strict requirements: 30dB, good for office, not good for audiofiles and bedroom. Need to sync it with drives (Seagate 2TB – 20dB) by 12cm fan replacement. Can’t really hear the tiny fan, usually opposite is the case.
    – accessories: only electric cable, no optical drive as pictured everywhere
    – annoying connection to optical drive / ssd, what a collosal waste of time for the customer straight away… need to search for very specific floppy cable hack, with very low availability on the market. Overall manhours very high, just to make HP save 1$
    – annoying connection to fan by some generic 6pin port, replacement will be difficult as they shuffle pins and PWM management. Another monster expense to count on.
    – paper limit of 16TB doesn’t apply in real life of course. My config is 3x2TB RAID0 + 10TB (nightly scrubber), all 4 is 20dB (the max for any of my setups), even the big one from the brand called “WD” (first time trying this brand after 20years with Seagate only, they now offer 10-12TB drives with idle 20dB!)
    – BIOS is from AMI, triggers Marwell and Broadcom first, you can set them up to set up hardware RAID etc which you won’t do, but be sure boot time will be very long thanks to this. You can set TDP to 12(!)W to 35W.
    – PCIx4 (unfortunate just x1) can be used for 10to8gbit (capped by PCI) Aquantia card which is now very widely used in appliances. I have direct link to QNAP 5to3gbit (capped by manufacturer) USB3 adapter, again Aquantia, this way i can use this connection for 3gbit locally, while server will connect aggregated 2gbit to switch. Use case: video editing..
    – PCIx8 can then stay free for NVME, Gfx etc
    – one use case is NAS showcase, with synology btrfs encryptfs not-so-cool implementation, getting 240MB/s on samba. I thought there’s much more potentional as the raw aes256 benchmark throws 700MB/s. Now I noticed the 1/4 CPU utillization, guessing 1 core is used, once i randd if=/dev/null of=/volume1/test bs=8k in 2 shells in parallel, the speed hit 400MB/s, still not challenging RAID0 cap of spinning drives, good enough for this whacky file encryption. Machine loves multiple users.
    – I assume Freenas ZFS will give better numbers. Will continue tests with more use cases (different NAS systems, VPN gateway role, VM).
    – without encryption getting 350MB/s, which is a limit of 5to3gbit USB QNAP card
    – dont have 2 SSDs there to check 10gbit saturation, but prehistoric marvell controller is connected via PCIe2x2, guaranteeing 10gbit and nothing more, which is good to save energy
    – system is so cold during testing, that i think of just turning off the fan or use fixed low noise low rpm one
    – no vibrations are transferred from hard drives, this time i have no use for pads
    – overall performance for price is good, and performance for energy is fantastic.
    1)you want to compares commercial NASes, ok, the first model of same performance is qnap 472xt, 1200$, 33W (bleh) on idle…wait they told us commercial NASes always save more energy if not money? here you pay 2x for 2x energy waste
    2)you want to compare embeds like top routers Nighhawk, WRT32, ok, they eat just a bit less energy but 4 to 10x slower performance on all ciphers – cant serve more than 1 user
    3)you wanna compare xeon anything, you scale up performance with cores, but in each case, consumption will be horrid
    4)finally you wanna compare with Gen8, seriously, i dont get this moaning about how gen10 sucks, you really love noisy 35w “micro”servers with half performance?

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