Tag: Microserver

HP Microserver Gen9 around the corner?

The guys over at ServeTheHome have let the cat out of the bag – HP intends to announce their new Proliant Gen9 server range next week.

HP-Proliant-Gen9-600x228

The new HP Proliant Gen9 range, coming soon!

Some interesting tidbits from the article:

HP has undergone a major mindset change over the past few years. Instead of selling well designed, x86 commodity servers, HP is re-thinking how it goes to market. The vision HP is pushing is really one that compute infrastructure will increasingly be managed as pools of resources specialized for specific tasks.

HP’s scaling story is building servers with each successive generation that are easier to manage in pools. HP Gen9 is rolling out with UEFI enhancements and a management platform that will aid in this effort.

The other interesting note about the announcement is the date. The HP ProLiant Gen9 servers are due out on September 8. The company also said that we would see DDR4 and Haswell architectures with the HP Gen9 server lineup. The company also cited that the Intel Developer Forum on September 9-10 in San Francisco would be a place where we would hear more about the line-up. With the major Apple event scheduled for 9/9/2014 there is a likely date for the Haswell-EP (Intel Xeon E5-2600 V3) that we can deduce from this, even if Intel is mum on the subject.

This is all very interesting. What does it mean for the Microserver SKU’s? Well, not very much at all. I would expect that they get a revised motherboard with a later chipset, a CPU bump to the ‘Haswell Refresh’ G1840T and G3240T, and the new Gen9 Management features – whatever they are. There might be newer versions of the Broadcom NICs, More USB3 ports… things along that line. I don’t think we get iLO5 but definitely new & updated onboard management, diagnostic and provisioning tools will be on the cards.

With a new SKU coming, I expect to see some special deals on the Gen8 Microservers coming up later in the year. The Gen9 release of the Proliants is due within a week or so, and we are likely to see a new Gen9 Microserver coming out before the end of the year. Remember that the E3-1220’s go into these quite happily and give a massive boost in performance. So if you can find a cheap E3 CPU – or even have one lying around from upgrades – and the Gen8 chassis goes back on the rebate specials we saw with the N40L/N56L units, definitely worth your time to grab one.

We are seeing the G1610T unit here in Australia retail from AUD$499 at some e-tailers, so if it dipped below AUD$300 they would likely sell very quick.

HP lists G8 Microservers on website

Thanks to sorted who spotted the Microserver G8’s are listed on the HP website. The two models are listed at USD$449 and USD$529 respectively on the HP website, a bit cheaper than what was expected.

MicroServer Gen8 G1610T – USD$449

Processor family
Processor:     Intel® Celeron® G1610T (2 core, 2.3 GHz, 2MB, 35W)
Number of processors:     1
Processor cores:     2

Memory
Standard memory:     2GB (1x2GB) UDIMM
Maximum memory:     16GB
Memory slots:     2 DIMM slots
Memory protection:     Unbuffered ECC

I/O
Expansion slots:     (1) PCIe
For detail descriptions reference the QuickSpec
Network controller:     1Gb 332i Ethernet Adapter 2 Ports per controller

Hard drives
Storage controller:     (1) Dynamic Smart Array B120i/ZM

Power supply
Power supply:     (1) 150W non-hot plug, non redundant power supply kit Multi-output

Rack height
Rack height:     MicroServer

MicroServer Gen8 G2020T – USD$529

Processor family
Processor:     Intel® Pentium® G2020T (2 core, 2.5 GHz, 3MB, 35W)
Number of processors:     1
Processor cores:     2

Memory
Standard memory:     2GB (1x2GB) UDIMM
Maximum memory:     16GB
Memory slots:     2 DIMM slots
Memory protection:     Unbuffered ECC

I/O
Expansion slots:     (1) PCIe
For detail descriptions reference the QuickSpec
Network controller:     1Gb 332i Ethernet Adapter 2 Ports per controller

Hard drives
Storage controller:     (1) Dynamic Smart Array B120i/ZM

Power supply
Power supply:     (1) 150W non-hot plug, non redundant power supply kit Multi-output

Rack height
Rack height:     MicroServer

 

EXCLUSIVE: The Microserver Switch Module revealed

After the “Top Secret” photos earlier in the week, we can now reveal the following Microserver Module – a PS1810-8G Gigabit Ethernet switch. Basically it is the normal HP 1810-8G switch (Product code J9449A) stuffed into a new Microserver-shaped case.

G8_Microserver_1810_Switch_Module_Front

G8_Microserver_1810_Switch_Module

Looks pretty good, and the specifications of the 1810-8G are really good. 802.3ad Link Aggregation, Vlans, all the really handy stuff you want as a network admin. I think this will be a game changer in the small branch offices.

Why? Because it will make it easy to run a couple of Microservers, team the Network cards on each into the switch, and uplink them into the workgroup switch. It also leverages Power over Ethernet (PoE) to power the switch on port 1. If you have a larger workgroup switch that already has PoE capability which is often used to provide 48VDC to devices via the ethernet cable in order to power them without plugpacks, you can use that to power the switch and reduce cabling clutter.

PoE is mature technology and is used to power devices like IP Phones and WiFi Access Points. I am seeing more and more affordable PoE switches in the enterprise as IP Phones are making their mark and business sees the benefit of not having powerpacks everywhere.

G8_Microserver_With_Switch_Module

As you can see the module is shaped to the design of the Microserver and is stackable. Very neat and tidy.

G8_Microserver_1810_Switch_Module_OnTop

And finally here is the HP Sheet on these. Click to enlarge it!

G8_Microserver_1810_Switch_Documentation

I hope you can all see where this is going. After my previous post regarding the External Storage Module being dropped, then being told that a backup module exists, it starts becoming pretty clear that the Microserver range will be used as a base to external modules. I think it is a really cool system, keeping the base unit small and cheap to manufacture, while giving customers the opportunity to expand their systems as required.

HP Video shows U320 SCSI Expansion card in Microserver

Well this is rather strange, but perusing the new Repair/Replace videos for the Microserver G8, I noticed the ‘Expansion board’ video. Here’s a couple of screenshots:

HP_Microserver_G8_ExpansionBoard2

HP_Microserver_G8_ExpansionBoard

Now if you look carefully, on the top screenshot you can see ‘ATTO’ on the bracket, and just below that I can make out ‘Ultra 320’. The connectors do indeed appear to be Ultra320 SCSI External connectors.

With a bit of sleuthing, the card in question appears to be the HP StorageWorks U320e SCSI Host Bus Adapter, part number AH627A. Here’s a better picture:

HP StorageWorks U320e SCSI Host Bus Adapter

A dual channel Ultra 320 SCSI card? Talk about old technology, I would have thought a SAS Host bus Adapter would have been more likely. It could have just been a low-profile expansion/HBA card that the video team had lying around, or could it have been a way of attaching an external storage array?

We await the launch of the new model next week for all the official details.

Socketed CPU confirmed for Microserver G8

Full marks to HomeServerShow and their eagle-eyed forum poster MicroMatt who have spotted the Microserver G8 Self-Repair Remove/Replace videos.

The videos can be accessed by going to the HP Customer Self Repair Services Media Library and selecting “Servers > HP ProLiant MicroServer > HP ProLiant MicroServer G8” and then following the “Remove/Replace videos” link below the selection boxes.

Then you get a Javascript popup video which will play the videos for you. I looked at the last video entitled “System Board” and found this….

HP Repair video outs the G8 Microserver as having a CPU Socket for a replaceable (and possibly upgradable) CPU.

HP Repair video outs the G8 Microserver as having a CPU Socket for a replaceable (and possibly upgradable) CPU.

Gen8 Microserver features dual Broadcom Network ports, teamable!

HP_Microserver_G8_Network

Here’s the image that many people have been wanting to see.

Straight out of HP’s system diagram for the Microserver G8, we can see that it will feature the Broadcom BCM5717 chip, which is a part of the BCM5718 family. It sports two Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) RJ45 ports with the following new features over the preceding model:

  • Teaming (via Broadcom driver under Windows)
  • Jumbo Frame support
  • IP Checksum offload
  • TCP Checksum offload
  • UDP Checksum offload

Unfortunately the checksum offloads will be of limited use to such a low-powered server, and having these enabled may have an impact on network performance at high CPU utilisation. This particular chip also does not support the extra Virtualisation features like VMware NetQueue for vSphere, or Microsoft Virtual Machine Queue (VMQ) but that probably is not required for something like a Microserver.

Compared to the single network port of the G7 Microserver, the new model gains quite a bit of functionality. The BCM5723-provided networking in the G7 did not support Jumbo frames, and also did not play nicely with FreeNAS, with quite a few users complaining of slow network speeds. Generally, the fix was to install a low-profile Intel PRO based network card in the PCIe x1 slot and use that instead.

Teaming is nice, and will be appreciated out of the box, however most serious ESXi users with G7’s installed a low-profile HP NC360T dual-port Gigabit Ethernet NIC which uses the Intel PRO chipset. This was available via many Server OEMS including Dell and Sun, and can be found on eBay in various guises for about $USD75-USD$80. All work the same.

Having two built-in NIC’s may also mean that the Microserver might become a viable platform for routing/firewalling 4+ GigE interfaces under a Linux solution like Vyatta or pfSense. The option of a NC360T/Intel-based Dual-Port NIC gives a cheap and easy 4-port solution.

Granted that even the Intel Dual-core CPU’s might not be up to the task of Routing and firewalling six GigE ports, if the user so desires to source one, a quad-port Gigabit NIC like the HP NC364T could be added to the x16 PCIe slot and give a total of six copper GigE interfaces.

Even with the advent of cheap hardware Router/Firewalls such as the 3-port Ubiquiti EdgeMax Lite priced around $100, it still may mean that some users may elect to use the Microserver as a home Router/Firewall.

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