HP ProLiant ML350 Gen9 - Crazy Extensibility Server

    We publish a review of the new HP ProLiant ML350 Gen9 server by Evgeny KorP Elizarova

    At the end of 2014, the big three server manufacturers announced new server models. HP introduced more than 10 updated server models, including the HP ProLiant ML350 Gen9.

    The main features of the new server are:
    - support for new generation Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 processors
    - support for HP SmartMemory DDR4 memory
    - updated HP Smart Array P440ar controller (SAS 12 Gb / s)
    - updated HP Dynamic Smart Array controller that supports collaboration with controllers HP Flexible Smart Array and Smart SAS HBA.

    Honestly, this is my first time reviewing servers from HP. I only worked with the already outdated Gen5 generation models that still work in our rack. The development of servers has reached the point that it makes no sense to compare the servers of the "Big Three" with each other, they are all performed efficiently and at a high level. It’s another matter if these are servers of lesser-known and popular manufacturers, such as Huawei, which are still just “catching up” with leaders in quality of execution and equipment. But today I will talk about the HP ML350 Gen9.
    The server can be installed as a rack, using the optional rail kit, and can be used as a tower, thanks to the legs from the kit.

    CPU1 or 2 Intel Xeon E5-2600v3 processors
    Memory24 DIMM DDR4 Slots
    Maximum memory capacityUp to 768 GB
    Storage SystemUp to 48 SFF or 24 LFF
    Form factor5U
    Power suppliesUp to 4 PSUs: 500W, 800W or 1400W

    What I personally love multi-server servers for is the space inside. Of course, a tight layout in 2U gives great computing power per unit, but it often happens that the space occupied in the rack is not something limiting, but good cooling of the components and convenient access to them are very important.

    This will be especially true if you have a large number of expansion cards, for the use of which the HP ML350 Gen9 is excellent. Up to 9 PCIe 3.0 slots allow you to use various expansion cards, whether it be FC or PCI-E SSD, and support for power supplies up to 1400W will ensure all this reliable power. The spacious case and powerful coolers will provide an excellent level of cooling.

    Coolers can be installed up to 8 pieces.

    The server is positioned as a workgroup server and a server for special applications. Most likely, this model will be of interest to companies that are planning active growth in the short term, then using the HP ML350 Gen9 will be really justified. But in some cases, this server can be used as a powerful workstation to process video content, for example. Fortunately, the cooling system in HP servers, starting somewhere from the Gen5 generation, is quite efficient even at low cooler speeds, so the noise level in the room is minimal. I myself have an HP DL360 G6 server in my apartment, which is completely invisible in terms of the noise emitted on the background of household appliances, even at night.

    On the front panel you can see 6 baskets for HDD, in our test sample one basket for 2.5 "disks was installed.

    And perhaps the main feature of this server is the ability to install up to 48 SFF disks, which no competitor can offer at the moment You can organize disks in a variety of ways - hang each disk basket on a separate controller for maximum IOPS or collectively on two controllers with SAS-Expander'es - for budget logical volumes of large capacity. There is also a built-in SATA controller (available on all models.) In general, in terms of the disk subsystem, the expansion options are extremely broad and interesting for any application.

    The drive rails themselves received an update as early as the 8th generation, which I “missed” for myself, compared to Gen7 and earlier - they became more compact and are now much more convenient to insert, and the new button “snaps” the drive out of the basket too very comfortable.

    On the back panel there is a standard set of ports: USB (including 3.0), network interfaces, iLO port.

    In fact, it is extremely difficult to write about the platform itself. From a constructive point of view, servers have long reached a very high level of quality and their use and communication with them gives only positive emotions. Therefore, I’ll continue the story about the thing that distinguishes HP’s servers with its functionality - HP Integrated Lights-Out (iLO).

    Various technologies used in iLO allow you to control the temperature performance of the server and the status of the cooling fans. The integrated Active Health System (AHS) component monitors server activity, health logs, configurations, various server indicators in real time, etc., which allows you to quickly collect diagnostic information and allows you to send this data to the company using Insight Online or Insight Remote Support 7.x HP in case of equipment problems.

    The iLO Federation function also appeared - the ability to manage several servers and monitor their status using iLO on one server - this function is extremely useful for those who have to administer and monitor a large amount of equipment. Well, since 2015 is already in the yard, it can’t do without mobile technologies here either. Mobile applications for Android and iOS allow you to access the server from your mobile phone.

    ILO4 also has its own API, which allows you to quickly deploy multiple servers.
    Personally, in remote control systems, for complete happiness and convenience, perhaps only one function is missing - the ability to directly check and download new firmware for the server, controller, and the control system from the web-based interface. I don’t know why the manufacturers have not yet implemented this functionality, because in order to download all this on the site you do not need to register a server or something else, i.e. in fact, this is not for data protection purposes. But this could greatly facilitate server upgrades. After all, this is implemented using the HP Smart Update Manager, but this requires its installation on the host OS. But however, SUM integrates closely with iLO and can, for example, install updates in batches on any number of servers in parallel using iLO Federation.

    Nevertheless, the choice of a brand for a purchased server comes down more to personal preferences (to the same management system, for example) or to the restrictions imposed by the purchasing department. Nevertheless, these are not specific platforms based on Power architecture and all are not reduced by the technical capabilities of a particular brand. Server updates this fall, to a greater extent, are due to the transition to Intel v3 processors, DDR4 memory and new chipsets, but it also could not do without small killer features. The rest is good old HP.

    Posted by: Evgeny KorP Elizarov

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