Performance

HPE ProLiant ML30 Gen10

SMEs looking for affordable ways to expand their IT services will find HPE’s ProLiant ML30 Gen10 offers something for everyone. Along with support for the latest Xeon E-2100 CPUs and fast 2,667MHz DDR4 memory, this compact tower server has what it takes in the storage department and with prices starting at only $673, it’s eminently affordable.

You can save hard cash with the operating system too, as HPE is partnering with ClearCenter and offering models preloaded with the ClearOS open-source Linux software. Available with Bronze, Silver and Gold subscriptions, ClearOS can turn the ML30 Gen10 into a complete business server with easy web management and access to hundreds of apps.

HPE has taken this relationship further as it also offers the ML30 Gen10 with the ClearVM virtualization software. It’s great value as the basic free version supports up to 8 VMs and it is managed entirely from the ClearVM cloud portal.

Processing options and design

The server’s iLO5 controller offers a wealth of remote management and monitoring tools

You can easily match processing power to your budget as HPE offers a choice of seven Intel Xeon E-2100 CPUs or you can opt for cheaper Core i3-8300 or Pentium G5400 chips. Our ‘Solution’ review system looks good value as the price includes a fast quad-core 3.5GHz Xeon E-2134 CPU and a decent 16GB of 2,667MHz ECC DDR4 memory which can expanded to 64GB.

Internally, the server is well designed and offers an impressive expansion potential. The CPU and memory slots are covered with a large air shroud and behind this are four available PCIe slots while a single M.2 NVMe SSD slot lurks underneath the CPU socket.

Port choices are extensive as the server presents dual embedded Gigabit along with one USB 2 and six USB 3 ports. At the front are two 5.25in. expansion bays which support optional slim-line optical and RDX cartridge drives while old school backup fans can opt for an LTO tape drive.

Cooling is handled well as along with the CPU’s active heatsink, the chassis has a rear fan just behind it and another under the front drive cage. The ML30 Gen10 is a very quiet customer as the SPLnFFT iOS app on our iPad recorded sound levels of only 38.8dB from one metre in front.

Storage surprises

Upgrading the iLO5 to an Advanced license enables feature such as OS remote control

The ML30 Gen10 offers plenty of storage permutations as you can choose a chassis with four non-hot-plug (NHP) LFF drive bays, four hot-plug LFF bays or the 8-bay hot-plug SSF cage in the system supplied to us for review. Basic RAID services come as standard as the motherboard has an embedded Smart Array S100i controller which supports SATA drives and can manage stripes, mirrors and RAID5 arrays in software.

There are a couple of catches with the review system as the price doesn’t include any drives so you’ll need to factor in these additional costs. The S100i chip also only supports four SATA drives so to enable all 8 SFF bays, you’ll need to order one of HPE’s Smart Array RAID PCIe cards.

For SMEs on a strict budget, we suggest HPE’s Essentials Smart Array E208i-p SR adapter as this supports up to eight SAS3/SATA drives, provides hardware-managed RAID0, 1, 10 or 5 arrays and costs around $200. If you want more, there are HPE’s Performance models with the P408i-p adding support for RAID6 and including 2GB of flash-backed write cache but his will set you back over $400.

The on-board NVMe SSD slot has a dual purpose as you also can use it to install HPE’s M.2/iLO/serial port enablement board. Costing around $120, it pushes remote server management out to a dedicated Gigabit network port and presents an M.2 SSD slot along with an extra serial port.

Management and power

HPE’s embedded Intelligent Provisioning tool provides plenty of help for OS installation

A stand-out feature of the ML30 Gen10 is its embedded iLO5 controller as this delivers some of the best remote management features around. Without the extra enablement kit, it shares access with the first Gigabit port and offers a smart web console that’s crammed with valuable information about the server’s status.

Along with direct links to HPE support, it allows you to keep a close eye on all critical components and provides extensive fault alerting services. The server’s iLO5 Standard license will needs to be upgraded to an Advanced version if you want power metering, virtual media services and full OS remote control.

We run HPE’s OneView in the lab as a Hyper-V VM and had no problems adding the server’s iLO5 details to it. It’s free if you’re only using it to monitor your HPE servers and it presents plenty of information about CPUs, power and temperatures plus tools for controlling power and running remote control sessions.

OS deployment is handled nicely by HPE’s embedded Intelligent Provisioning tool which has been updated to support ClearOS installations. It provides plenty of assistance and we used it to swiftly deploy Windows Server 2019 with all the correct drivers inside 30 minutes.

Power won’t be a problem either as entry systems come with a cold-swap 350W PSU while our review system includes a 500W Platinum PSU and a spare bay alongside to add a second for redundancy. The server won’t burn a hole in your power bill as we measured the review system consuming only 27W with the OS in idle and peaking at 87W when under extreme load.

Conclusion

The ProLiant ML30 Gen10 is a great choice for SMEs with an eye on the future and its low starting price makes it good value. It may be small but its versatile design offers plenty of upgrade space to keep in step with demand and it’s endowed with the best remote management tools in town.

8.7 Total Score

The ProLiant ML30 Gen10 is a great choice for SMEs with an eye on the future and its low starting price makes it good value. It may be small but its versatile design offers plenty of upgrade space to keep in step with demand and it’s endowed with the best remote management tools in town.

Performance
9
Features
9
Build quality
9
Usability
8.5
Value
8
PROS
  • Compact, well-built chassis
  • Good expansion potential
  • Xeon E-2100 support
  • Classy iLO5 remote management
CONS
  • S100i RAID controller has some imitations
  • There will be extra costs for storage
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