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Preview on HP ProLiant MicroServer Gen8 for ESXi

Hewlett-Packard has just released a Generation 8 Microserver which is going to replace the well-known N36L/N40L/N54L Microservers. The new server has the same trendy design as the entire Gen8 series. The AMD Turion CPU has been replaced by an Intel Ivy Bride CPU which is way more powerful and the memory limit has been raised to 16GB. With that, the new server brings much more power to your VMware vSphere Homelab and allows you to run more virtual machines. In this post, I am going to compare both specs to point out what's new and better.

N36L/N40L/N54L vs. Gen8 at a glace

  • + CPU socket (changeable CPU)
  • + 16GB memory max
  • + Integrated iLO and Mobile App Support
  • + 2x USB3.0 port
  • + Internal microSD slot
  • + 2x onboard NICs
  • - 5,25" Slot
  • - no eSATA port
  • - no PCIe 8x slot

HP ProLiant MicroServer Gen8 can be ordered with to different Ivy Bridge CPUs:

  • Intel Celeron G1610T (2.3Hz/2-core/2MB/35W) Processor
  • Intel Pentium G2020T (2.5GHz/2-core/3MB/35W) Processor

This is more power, compared to the Turion CPUs:

  • N36L: 2-core 1.30GHz (TDP 15W)
  • N40L: 2-core 1.50GHz (TDP 15W)
  • N54L: 2-core 2.20GHz (TDP 25W)

CPU Benchmarks (PassMark)

8GB maximum has been raised to 16GB. (The processor supports up to 32GB)

RAID Controller
The Gen8 MicroServer comes with an integrated HP Dynamic Smart Array B120i RAID Controller which supports RAID 0/1/10. As far as i know, this RAID Controller works with ESXi. I am going to confirm that when it is delivered.

Network Controller
The Gen8 MicroServer has a second onboard NIC.

Remote Management
HP iLO Management Engine is now embedded so you don't need an additional card. To use remote server management you have to buy a license.

Expansion Slots
The Gen8 MicroServer has one x16 PCIe 2.0 slot. This is less than the old system which has an additional x78 port. But as this port was usually populated with the remote access card, both systems are equally equipped.

Internal Storage
Both systems have 4 hard drive trays. The Gen8 MicroServer supports up to 12TB (4 x 3TB 3.5" SATA)

In addition to 5 USB 2.0 Ports (2 front, 2 rear, 1 internal), the Gen8 MicroServer has 2 USB 3.0 Ports and an internal MicroSD slot.

Virtualization Features
Intel VT-x and EPT are supported

13 thoughts on “Preview on HP ProLiant MicroServer Gen8 for ESXi”

  1. But will it work with ESXi? I'm not sure if you have the same deal wherever you are but currently you can buy the HP N54L with £100 cash back, so you end up with a microserver for around £97 after you get the cheque back from HP!

    I already have two at home for my vsphere lab (thanks to your blog!) and planning on buying a third to run as a storage device.

    Are the Gen8s released to the public yet or do you have some special pre-release? :)

    1. We do not have that cashback deal in germany. Despite that, 200,- € for the N40L was a great deal.
      Maybe you should wait and buy one of the Gen8 for ESXi and use the Gen7 for Storage. Performance is totally acceptable, even with softraid.
      I can't confirm that ESXi will work with Gen8 microserver as i dont't have it by now. (It's not yet available in germany)

  2. Hi,

    Can you confirm Esxi compatibility?

    Can I use a normal 3.5" Sata 3GB or 6Gb 1Tb Hdd with this microserver? or the hdd has to be something special and expensive one?


    1. Yes, it works with ESXi 4.x and 5.x
      No special HP-HDDs required. The Server is delivered with HDD caddies.
      It supports up to 12TB (4 x 3TB) 3.5" SATA.
      HDD bays 1 and 2 support 6.0Gb/s SATA. HDD bays 3 and 4 support 3.0Gb/s SATA.

      1. Hi,

        Thx I google it up and saw LFF is simply means 3.5" SATA or SAS HDD (tough NAS or Server grade ones recommended for 24/4 use) I stick with WD Red NAS 2 TB Drives.

  3. Pingback: [Kaufberatung] Homeserver

  4. Did you confirm HP Dynamic Smart Array B120i works with ESXi 5.5 in RAID mode and or at all?

    Can ESXi be installed to internal MicroSD?

    Just curious from in the field experience, because I would like to pick one up if the B120i is supported and tested to work with 5.5.


  5. The b120i controller is supported IF you're using the HP branded ESXi 5.X image. The micro sd card slot can be used to boot ESXi as well.

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