IMG 933x

The G8 version of the most famous HP microserver has a new appeal thanks to the ILO and two on-board network card interfaces.

HP’s eight generation microserver is an extremely interesting product for both system administrators and Msp looking for a compact, quiet, economic and flexible device that can be used in most situations.

It can be used as a Nas or as a server in small offices where there’s no place for a ‘datacenter’, or as an appliance to run firewalls, telephony switching services, mail server or other specific apps that does not require resources or high computing power.

The new G8 release eventually takes advantage of the more performant Intel platform and already has an onboard ILO dedicated to remote control, just like its big brothers of the Proliant line. Amongst the most appreciated changes there is the even more compact dimensions (almost 4 cm less in height) and the more easy access to RAM and the other internal elements. In the previous release, after opening the fore panel to access the motherboard, unscrewing two internal screws and unplugging all the cables, all of that while pulling it out, was necessary. Now there is no more need to unplug cables or to move the motherboard: unscrewing two screws on the back (a screwdriver is not needed) and lifting the top cover is enough. Easy and quick access to the two RAM slots (only DDR3 Unbuffered, exclusively ECC, 16GB max) and to the Pci Express slot (2.0 x16, low profile) is now granted, as well as the internal USB 2.0 port which is now coupled with a MicroSD slot (non hot-plug). The external connectivity is remarkable: two Gbit NICs, one NIC dedicated for the ILO, two USB 2.0 ports on the front and on the back, two USB 3.0 ports on the back that replace the previous e-SATA port (fast access to an external storage). Finally, a VGA port is available to connect an external monitor through the integrated Matrox G200 video card.

The internal storage space is generous as always: behind the frontal panel (it doesn’t have a key anymore but it can be blocked from the inside) there are 4 slots for 3,5” SATA disks, trays with screws and allen wrench are included. The first two slots are 6 GBit/s SATA (gen. 3), the last two are just 3Gbit/s SATA 3 gen. 2). The supplied controller is HP’s Dynamic Smart Array B120i but it does not have neither cache nor battery but it offers a graphical interface (Orca) almost identical to the ones available in the more expensive cards of the same line. The brand new server is supplied without any disk (the previous model would came straight of the factory with a 250GB SATA); maximum capacity is 16TB in a 4x4TB disks configuration. For JBOD use it is necessary to configure the logical units; RAID 0, 1 and 10 are available. There is still space for an optional optical reader, but the extended 5,25” format does not fit: a compact reader with the format used inside laptops is mandatory. The SATA connection is available on the left side of the motherboard.

Caratteristiche tecnicheHP Proliant Microserver G8
ProcessoreIntel Celeron G1610T 2,3 GHz (2 core, no hyperthread)
Ram installata/Massima2 Gbyte su un modulo/16 gbyte su due moduli
Tipo di Ram installabileDDR3 Unbuffered ECC max 8 Gbyte a modulo
Numero slot Ram2
Dischi in dotazione0
Slot dischi 3,5 pollici ad accesso frontale 6 Gbit/s Sata2
Slot dischi 3,5 pollici ad accesso frontale 3 Gbit/s Sata2
Slot CD-Rom 8,5 mm spessore1
Controller dischiHP Dynamic Smart Array B210i
Modalità RAID supportate0/1/10
Capienza massima dischi 4 dischi da 4Tbyte
Cache a bordo del controller-
Porte Sata extra1
Sistema di controllo fuori bandaHP ILO ver. 4 con 16 Mbyte Flash e 256 Mbyte Ram DDR3
Processori disponibili su altri modelliPentium G2020T e Xeon E3-1220L v2
Sistemi operativi supportati ufficialmenteWindows 2008, 2008 R2, 2012, 2012 R2, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (6 e 7), SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (11 e 12), Vmware ESXi (dalla 5.1 alla 6.0)
Usb 2.0 frontali2
Usb 2.0 retro2
Usb 3.0 retro2
Usb 2.0 interna1
Porte Ethernet Gbit2
Porta Ethernet dedicata alla ILO1
Slot Micro SD1 interno

ILO (Integrated Light Out, the equivalent of Dell’s iDrac or IPMI cards. IPMI cards are found on many other hardware manufacturers) is version 4, the one found in higher tiers HP servers, without any particular limitation due to the reduced physical dimensions of the Microserver. In order to exploit all the advanced functions, like desktop remote control after ths OS boot, an Advanced license has to be bought. ILO has a Flash 16MB disk and 256MB DDR3 memory. The power supply is not redundant (and fans as well) and has a max power of 200W for the European market version.

HP G8 Microserver
The case resembles the aspect of other gen 8 servers.
Microserver G8 vs previous version
RAM access of G8 Microserver on the left, the previous one on the right.
ILO, finally!
HP's ILO v4 chip is showed.
On the back, two Gbit ports in addition to the Ethernet port dedicated to the ILO.
Reduced space
The new G8 Microserver on the left, the old model on the right.
Ports comparison
No ILO and just one Gbit port on the previous model (on the right). Expansion slots were two, by the way.
Intel Processors
The Microserver family can be equipped with Celeron, Pentium, Core i3 or Xeon Processors
Hard Disk Bay
The four slots on the front makes easy to replace a bad disk, but it's important to remember that they're not hot swap
MicroSD and internal USB
Inside the case a USB 2.0 port and a MicroSD reader (the controller showed is not included).
The characteristic blue LED on the front

On a processor basis, the most popular version of the Proliant G8 will almost surely be the one with the Intel Celeron G1610T (2,3GHz, 2 cores, no hyperthread, 2MB cache, 35W power consumption, Intel VT, 2312 score on Passmark): it offers enough computation power for most uses of this microserver, especially if compared with the processors of many integrated platforms sold as Nas. Alternatively, HP offers two more performant processors, Intel Pentium G2020T (2,5GHz, 2 cores, no hyperthread, 3MB cache, 35W power consumption, Intel VT/VT-d, 3656 Passmark score) and Intel Xeon E3-1220Lv2 (2,3GHz, 2 cores with hyperthread 3MB cache, 17W power consumption, Intel VT-VT-d, 3656 Passmark score).

HP’s new baby officially supports Windows Server (from 2008 to 2012 R2), RHEL (6 and 7) and even VMware ESXi (from 5.1 to 6.0).

High price/quality ratio
Detailed and easily accessible case, extremely compact
Integrated Smart Array Controller
Two Gbit NICs and ILO 4 Standard (Advanced upgrade available)

Max memory: 16GB
Controller without cache and battery
Only NON hot-swap SATA disks supported
Single power supply and fans not redundant


HP Enterprise

About the Author

Filippo Moriggia

After more than 10 years of experience in the technical journalism with PC Professionale (the italian version of PC Magazine) and other newspapers of Mondadori group, Filippo Moriggia founded GURU advisor, the reference website for IT professionals, system integrators, cloud providers and MSPs. He has a Master of Science in Telecommunications Engineering and works as a independent consultant and contractor for different firms. His main focuses are software, virtualization, servers, cloud, networking and security. He's certified VMware VCA for Data Center Virtualization.