Review: HP ProLiant MicroServer Gen8 and HP PS1810-8G Switch

Review: HP ProLiant MicroServer Gen8 and HP PS1810-8G Switch

The HP ProLiant MicroServer is designed for the SMB

Designed expressly for the needs of small business, the HP ProLiant MicroServer Gen8 packs a lot of power along with enterprise manageability into a tiny package. This is not server designed for racks or computer rooms. HP designed this unit for small businesses many of whom might be looking for their first server. The HP ProLiant MicroServer comes in a small 10” x 8 x 10” nearly square form factor that can easily fit on a self, under a desk or on a table top. Somewhat surprisingly the unit also comes with the HP PS1810-8G switch giving the small business everything they would need to get up and running right out of the box. You can see the HP ProLiant MicroServer Gen8 and its accompanying HP PS1810-8G switch in Figure 1.

HP ProLiant MicroServer Gen8
Figure 1 - The HP ProLiant MicroServer

The HP ProLiant MicroServer packs a lot of power into an energy efficient package. The review unit I tested came with a 2.5Ghz dual-core Intel Pentium G2020T processor and 4GB of RAM. It supports a maximum of 16GB of DDR3 RAM, The system also came equipped with 2 x 2TB HP hard drives for a total of 4TB. The HP ProLiant MicroServer base unit doesn’t come with any storage but the unit is capable of supporting up to 12TB of direct attached storage. Internally, there is one low form factor PCIe 2.0 expansion slot. There were two USB 2.0 ports on the front of the unit. One the back of the unit there was 1 video port, two 1GB Ethernet network ports, one 1GB iLO remote management port, two USB 2.0 ports and two USB 3.0 ports. My review unit was also equipped with the optional SATA DVD-RW drive. To make the unit as energy efficient as possible HP designed the unit with a small 150W power supply.

One of the main things that really sets the HP ProLiant MicroServer apart from other small servers is HP’s  HP ProActive Insight Architecture and the iLO 4 Management Engine. ILo is HP’s Integrated Lights Out embedded management technology and it enables the HP MicroServer to be remotely managed by an OEM partner or consultant.

The accompanying HP PS1810-8G switch is designed to be stacked either on top of or underneath the HP ProLiant MicroServer. As you might note in Figure 1 its form factor matches the MicroServer perfectly and a clever case design lets it fit in snuggly with the server. Like the MicroServer the HP PS1810-8G switch is completely manageable which is notable for a low cost network switch. The HP PS1810-8G switch uses a quiet fanless design and provides eight 1GB network ports. Multiple switches can be linked together. Port 1 is a Power over Ethernet Powered Device (PoE PD) port. You can manage the switch by directing a web browser to the switch’s IP address. If there is a DHCP server present the switch will automatically acquire an IP address from the DHCP server. Otherwise, you can manage the switch by directing a web browser to the default IP address. Like you might expect the PS1810-8G switch provides layer 2 switching and VLAN support. Notably, it also supports link aggregation enabling it to bind together two Ethernet ports on MicroServer Gen8 with HP PS switch effectively doubling the throughput to server (2G instead of 1G).

I setup the MicroServer and switch on a convenient shelf and was pleasantly surprised at how quiet the unit was after powering it up. While not totally silent the unit was completely acceptable in a typical office environment emitting a low hum as it ran. Intelligent provisioning made the initial setup experience very easy. There were no DVDs to load. The initial setup began right after the unit was powered up. The test unit came with Windows 2012 Essentials preinstalled. You just need to answer the initial setup prompts when you first power up the unit. Windows Server 2012 Essentials supports file and print sharing and Active Directory but it does not offer support for Hyper-V. The system’s performance was quite adequate for 10-20 typical file and print users. Windows Server Essentials supports a maximum of 25 users and 50 devices.

The HP ProLiant MicroServer and PS1810-8G switch is a great choice for small businesses looking to put in their first server, a home office server or for organizations looking to add manageable low cost servers for departmental computing. Its small size and low power consumption make it an economically choice for small business and its remote iLO management capabilities enable a consultant or systems integrator to easily remotely manage and troubleshoot both the HP ProLiant Microserver and the PS181-8G network switch.


HP ProLiant MicroServer Gen8
PROS:Small form factor, quiet and economical operations, remote iLo management, includes a manageable network switch
CONS: Limited expandability
RATING: 5 out of 5
PRICE: Base price: $529 Price as tested: $1522
RECOMMENDATION:The HP ProLiant Microserver is a great choice for small businesses looking to put in their first server, a home office server or for organizations looking to add manageable low cost servers for departmental computing needs.



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