HPE ProLiant ML30 Gen9

A top tower for small busi­nesses with classy man­age­ment and plenty of fea­tures at a low price

PC Pro - - November 2017 Issue 277 - DAVE MITCHELL

SCORE ✪✪✪✪✪ PRICE Model 873230-035, £638 exc VAT from more­com­put­ers.com

HPE’s ProLiant ML30 Gen9 tower server has some­thing for ev­ery­one. Larger of­fices will wel­come sup­port for the lat­est Xeon E3-1200 v6 pro­ces­sors and fast 2,400MHz DDR4 mem­ory, while mi­cro-busi­nesses will love the fact that prices start at less than £400.

You can save money on the op­er­at­ing sys­tem too, as HPE has part­nered with ClearCen­ter to of­fer the ML30 pre­in­stalled with the Linux-based ClearOS plat­form. The Com­mu­nity edi­tion is free, while the sup­ported paid-for Busi­ness edi­tion turns the ML30 into a busi­ness server with ac­cess to over 300 apps.

ClearOS of­fers a web-based man­age­ment con­sole, which is very sim­ple to use. With a few clicks you can load up core gate­way, DNS and Ac­tive Direc­tory ser­vices, plus se­cu­rity fea­tures such as a fire­wall, an­tivirus and web con­tent fil­ter­ing.

We tried out one of HPE’s Base mod­els (873230-035), which comes kit­ted out with a 3GHz Xeon E3-1220 v6 CPU and 8GB of DDR4 mem­ory. The four-bay hot­plug LFF drive cage comes pop­u­lated with a 1TB SATA drive to get you off the start­ing blocks. If that doesn’t quite suit your needs, pick a CTO (con­fig­ure to or­der) model and you can choose from five Xeon E3-1200 v6 mod­els – or cut costs with the lat­est Core i3 or Pen­tium CPUs. There are also plenty of stor­age per­mu­ta­tions, as the ML30 can han­dle an eight-bay hot-swap SSF drive cage and HPE of­fers SAS3, mid­line (MDL) and low-cost SATA drives.

All mod­els start with an em­bed­ded Dy­namic Smart Ar­ray B140i con­troller that pro­vides stripes, mir­rors and RAID5 ar­rays for up to four SATA drives. For SAS3 and MDL drive sup­port, you can spec­ify an HPE Smart Ar­ray H240 or H241 RAID card. An­other op­tion is HPE’s M.2 SSD en­able­ment kit – a cus­tom PCIEx­press card, which hosts dual 120GB M.2 SSDs that con­nect to the spare SATA ports on the moth­er­board. At nearly £500, though, it’s an ex­pen­sive op­tion for this server.

Re­mote man­age­ment is a strength, as the server is en­dowed with HPE’s ex­cel­lent iLO4 con­troller. Shar­ing ac­cess with the first Gi­ga­bit Eth­er­net port, this pro­vides a packed web in­ter­face with qual­ity mon­i­tor­ing and alert­ing fea­tures, and di­rect links to HPE sup­port. For ba­sic mon­i­tor­ing, the Sys­tem Man­age­ment Homepage fea­ture pro­vides an in-depth over­view of crit­i­cal hard­ware com­po­nents. Note that this re­quires HPE’s WBEM

“A lot of thought has gone into cool­ing, as the server uses a solid, trans­par­ent shroud to di­rect air where it’s needed most”

Win­dows provider, and you must load the iLO 3/4 man­age­ment driver pack­age first oth­er­wise the WBEM com­po­nent will fail to in­stall.

In­ter­nally, the ML30 is well de­signed, with easy ac­cess to the four free PCI-Ex­press ex­pan­sion slots. Two spare SATA ports serve the pair of 5.25in ex­pan­sion bays, while the mi­croSD card slot lets vir­tu­al­i­sa­tion fans boot the server with an em­bed­ded hy­per­vi­sor.

A lot of thought has gone into cool­ing too, as the server uses a solid, trans­par­ent shroud to di­rect air where it’s needed most. This al­lows HPE to use a pas­sive CPU heatsink and a 9cm chas­sis cool­ing fan, which keeps noise lev­els down to a zephyr-like 36dB at 1m in front of the server. Base sys­tems have a 350W fixed PSU, but you can spec­ify dual 460W hot­plug 80 Plus Gold PSUs for ex­tra re­dun­dancy. Whichever you choose, it’s easy on the en­ergy bills: our sys­tem with a pair of LFF SATA test drives drew a mere 28W idle and peaked at 56W with the CPU un­der ex­treme load.

The HPE ProLiant ML30 Gen9 is a ver­sa­tile lit­tle tower that’s well­suited to for­ward-think­ing small busi­nesses. It has a rea­son­able start­ing price, can be eas­ily up­graded as de­mand dic­tates and won’t be beaten for re­mote-man­age­ment fea­tures.

BE­LOW HPE has part­nered with ClearCen­ter and of­fers the server with the ClearOS Linux soft­ware pre­in­stalled

ABOVE The four-bay hot­plug LFF drive cage comes equipped with a 1TB SATA drive to get you started

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