I have run a server in my home for the past 18 years. I initially had it routing my home network to the internet because home routers didn’t exist at that time.Yes, I had all my machines networked and on the internet. It was fun and kept me well trained on the technologies I used at work. It was time to upgrade my server and those lame inexpensive NAS systems didn’t work as well as I would like. So, it is time to build me a sweet system!

I like the compatibility and stability of enterprise grade servers but after having used a couple of Compaq ProLiant servers in the past I realized I didn’t like the $50 a month electric bill and the sound of a small jet engine rumbling through my living room floor from the server room below. Those fans can be quite loud. The other downside is the cost, I would pick up a used server to keep the costs down. What I really want is an entry level server in a small case that has low power usage and a quite fan. 

That is where the MicroServer Gen8 from HP come in. This is exactly what HP built in the ProLiant Gen8 MicroServer. This is a great entry level enterprise grade server with an affordable price tag, low power consumption, and usually a quiet fan. The fan is variable so it can cool the server if it needs to but otherwise runs slow and quiet. It even comes with HP’s iLO remote management built in. Unfortunately, there is an extra cost to enable the full use of the iLO card.

This is a very capable server for home or small office. The speed of the dual core Celeron G160T 2.3 Ghz CPU is more than fast enough. For more information on this server see the Quick Specs sheet from HP Available at: http://h18000.www1.hp.com/products/quickspecs/14565_div/14565_div.pdf

I purchased my HP ProLiant MicroServer Gen8 on December 7, 2013. It was a Christmas present to myself. Just what I wanted, how did I ever guess… Smile Over the past months, when I have had time, I have been researching what others have done with this server and set it up with different configurations. I have just made my final purchases today for my planned configuration.

This server will be both my hyper-v host server and my NAS. I have been evaluating different storage options but want to keep the costs down. I have seen that a lot of the community is using an add-in card for the disk controller but I want to avoid that cost. I will be using the onboard controller, Server 2012 R2 and storage spaces.

Here is the configuration I am using:

Item Cost (and link)
HP Gen8 ProLiant MicroServer Celeron G160T 2.3 Ghz CPU $389.99
Kingston ValueRAM 16GB Kit  (8Gig *2) Gig Memory Upgrade $169.99
ADATA Premier Pro SP900 64Gig  *  (OS Drive) $49.99
WD Red Hard Drive – 3TB  * (Data Drive) $124.99
WD Red Hard Drive – 3TB  * (Data Drive) $124.99
ADATA SP900 256GB SSD * (Data Drive – SSD Storage Tier) $129.99
ADATA SP900 256GB SSD * (Data Drive – SSD Storage Tier) $129.99
ICY DOCK EZConvert Mounting Kit (For SSD Drive) $15.99
ICY DOCK EZConvert Mounting Kit (For SSD Drive) $15.99
Power Converter Cable (For OS SSD drive in CDROM tray) $4.99
Total Cost $1156.90

This machine will have a data storage space of 6.5 TB of total space. I will use both striping and mirroring virtual disks for the storage spaces in addition to data de-duplication. For offsite backup I will be backing up to Azure storage for my important data. Also the two larger SSDs will go into slots one and two of the server as these offer 6Gb/s SATA connections and the other SATA connections only offer 3Gb/s. This is a limitation of the inbox controller.

This article is the first in a series of article I will be posting on the HP ProLiant Gen 8 MicroServer. Stay tuned for configuration details, bench marks, and how to guides.

Regards – Brian