HP DL380 G10 review
HPE’s ProLiant DL380 has consistently been at the top of the best seller list – and with good reason, as this is its most capable rack server. There’s little it can’t turn its
hand to and we exclusively bring you the first hands-on review of HPE’s new Gen10 flagship.
There’s plenty to get excited about as along with support for Intel’s Xeon Scalable CPU family, the DL380 Gen10 receives a complete refresh in the storage department with a new modular design. HPE’s Smart Array RAID controllers have also been uprated to offer more storage and interface choices.
The server supports 3TB of DDR4 SmartMemory and can handle up to 192GB of HPE’s Persistent Memory NVDIMMs. These target high-demand apps such as analytics or databases and provide 8GB of high-performance DRAM, backed up by 8GB of flash mounted on a standard form factor DIMM module.
And then there’s HPE’s new iLO 5 management controller. It offers a heap of new features as along with improved server monitoring, it has a laser-sharp focus on platform security with silicon fingerprinting, encryption and breach detection technology.
For our review we selected the Performance model 826556-B21 which sports a pair of 12-core 2.3GHz Intel Xeon Gold 5118 CPUs teamed up with 64GB of DDR4. A quick glance at the front shows HPE has retained the 8+8+8 drive bay configuration layout, allowing up to 24 SFF drives to be presented.
You can fit HPE’s universal media unit in the left bay, which provides dual USB3, a DisplayPort plus optical drive and room for two SFF drives beneath. There’s more going on at the back: three dual SFF hot-swap cages can be added, taking the tally to thirty drives.
The SFF chassis also supports up to 20 NVMe drives. If capacity is a key requirement, it’ll take twelve LFF drives at the front, three at the back and even four in the middle with HPE’s custom mid-plane kit. All models start with HPE’s embedded Smart Array S100i chip, which supports RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 for up to 14 SATA drives.
Management and security
The iLO 5 uses a new ASIC and its Secure Start swings into action when the server is powered on. It validates its firmware using HPE’s Silicon Root of Trust fingerprinting and if it fails this, it’ll stop the server booting. Next up is Secure Recovery which validates the iLO fir
mware and if the test fails, automatically flashes it with the resident recovery image.
Included in the iLO 5 Standard license is active sy
stem ROM validation and if this fails, it’ll activate the redundant system ROM. Should both ROMs fail validation, the Advanced Premium Security Edition license can run a firmware scan and a repair process will also run daily system firmware validations.
The iLO 5 is twice as fast as iLO 4 with double the memory and we found its Intelligent Provisioning OS deployment tools and virtual media services much quicker and more responsive. The iLO 5 web interface gets a major revamp making it even more informative and HPE has switched entirely to its agentless management service (AMS), negating the need to load any OS agents.
Existing users of HPE’s OneView must upgrade to v3.1 to support Gen10 hardware which requires patience as we found this takes around two hours. With this applied, we added the server’s iLO 5 credentials to the lab’s OneView Hyper-V VM and kept an eye on CPU and power usage plus temperatures, ran remote control sessions and powered the server up and down.
Power and networking
There’s room to grow, as our model includes both 3-slot PCI-Express riser cards with space for a 2-slot tertiary riser over the PSU bay. HPE’s tool free design comes into play as the two main risers can be easily removed with just a flick of the wrist.
All models come with quad embedded Gigabit ports and you can upgrade with a choice selection of FlexibleLOM mezzanine cards. The server supports one card which fits in a dedicated slot at the rear of the motherboard and HPE offers dual and quad-port fibre or copper 10GbE plus a dual-port 10/25/40GbE card.
I wanted to quickly touch on this subject as some of the rules regarding memory population have changed and we experienced it first hand.
- Install DIMMs only if the corresponding processor is installed.
- If only one processor is installed in a two-processor system, only half of the DIMM slots are available.
- To maximize performance, it is recommended to balance the total memory capacity between all installed processors.
- When two processors are installed, balance the DIMMs across the two processors.
- White DIMM slots denote the first slot to be populated in a channel.
- Mixing of DIMM types (UDIMM, RDIMM, and LRDIMM) is not supported.
- The maximum memory speed is a function of the memory type, memory configuration, and processor model.
- The maximum memory capacity is a function of the number of DIMM slots on the platform, the largest DIMM capacity qualified on the platform, the number and model of installed processors qualified on the platform.
HPE’s DL380 just keeps getting better with every generation and the latest Gen10 delivers new and welcome features in abundance. This highly expandable 2U rack server offers a wealth of storage choices and the new iLO 5 controller provides top-notch remote management and platform security. Enterprises and SMBs looking for a powerful and secure 2U rack server that can grow with them will find the ProLiant DL380 Gen10 an ideal partner.