ProLiant Series 100 - The Lost Younger Brother

The beginning of the second quarter of 2019 was marked by the renewal of the Hewlett Packard Enterprise server portfolio. At the same time, this update returns to us the "lost little brother" - a series of HPE ProLiant DL100 servers. Since over the years many have managed to forget about its existence, I propose in this short article to refresh our memories.

The "Hundredth" series has long been known to many as a budget solution for architectures that do not involve explosive growth and scaling. With a relatively low cost, the 100 Series servers fit well with the budget. But after the 7th generation, HPE decided to review its server portfolio to optimize production costs. The result was the disappearance of the 100th series and, as a result, difficulties in designing budget architectures on HPE solutions. Until now, we only had the 300th series at our disposal, with outstanding performance and flexibility in configuration, but not so tolerant of budgetary constraints.

Due to fierce competition, HPE decides to return the 100th series to its portfolio. Starting from the current generation (Gen10), hundreds are returning to the Russian market. From the beginning of April, HPE ProLiant DL180 Gen10 are available for ordering, and in the summer ProLiant DL160 Gen10 will appear. Since the new DL180 fell into my hands, I decided to go over its main pros and cons. Since the hundredth series was initially positioned as a simpler and lower cost version of the three hundredth, any review will inevitably lead to a comparison. Which I will do by comparing the DL380 and DL180 Gen10 currently available on the market.

Both models are dual-processor, dual-unit (2U 2P) universal servers, suitable for almost any use case. This is the only common feature of the "brothers."

As already noted, “hundreds” differ in the limitation of the number of supported options and, in general, in the flexibility of system configuration. DL180 servers (as well as DL160 in the future) will be available only as BTO - Built to Order.

This means a pre-prepared set of articles for which specific CPU and RAM models are assigned. More specifically, at the moment there are only 2 variations: single-processor configurations based on Intel Xeon-Bronze 3106 and Xeon-Silver 4110 CPUs, both with pre-installed 16Gb PC4-2666V-R RAM and a basket for 8 SFF disks.
The number of slots for RAM is reduced to 16 compared to 24 slots in the DL380. From the list of supported memory modules, everything was missing, except for the one installed in the basic configuration: HPE 16GB (1x16GB) Single Rank x4 DDR4-2666 CAS-19-19-19 Registered Smart Memory Kit. Options with Dual Rank or Load Reduced DIMM are currently not provided.

If we talk about data storage, then the hundredth series loses noticeably three hundredth:

  • One disk basket for 8 SFF
  • Integrated S100i Controller
  • Optional E208i / E208e and P408i controllers

In the future, it is planned to add additional optional baskets for 8 SFF (up to 2 per chassis) and a new chassis for LFF drives.

To access the network, the chassis is equipped with two 1 GE ports, which can be expanded to two 10 / 25Gb ports using the optional FlexibleLOM adapter.
The number of slots for PCI-E modules has not changed; the following options are available (with a dual-processor configuration):

  • 3 + 3 PCI-E x8 (using FlexibleLOM requires a special riser module)
  • 1 PCE-E x16 + 4 PCI-E x8

Due to the novelty of the released model, there is some confusion in the documentation. So, according to QuickSpecs, only hard drives with a SAS interface (300/600/1200 Gb 10k) are indicated. But the presence of the built-in Smart Array S100i RAID controller, which only supports SATA drives, leads to thoughts about inaccuracies in the documentation.

Most likely, all Gen10 SATA drives from other server models are supported, as it was before. And if you install a discrete raid controller HPE Smart Array E208i, it will be possible to use SAS-drives.

Due to the freshness of the release (I remind you that it took place in early April 2019, that is, less than 3 weeks ago from the publication of this article) there is not yet a complete list of supported options, but we can assume the absence of NVMe-drives and graphics accelerators, since the power power supplies has a 500W limit.

In the bottom line, we get a confident “average performance”, with sufficient capacity and unchanged “goodies” from HPE, which do not need too much presentation.
Despite, or rather, even thanks to the limited number of options, the 100-series models turned out to be a good solution for projects with limited budgeting. If your tasks require the scalability and performance of the DL380 Gen10, but financially you could not afford it, then the DL180 Gen10 was created specifically for you. It remains only to wait for the full list of options and the LFF chassis that will appear on the Russian market along with the DL160 Gen10.

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