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HP ProLiant ML110 Gen10 Server Review

HP ProLiant ML110 Gen10 Server Review 16 October 2023

Today, we're going to take a closer look at the HPE ProLiant ML110 Gen10 server. At first glance, it may appear as a typical desktop PC system unit, but don't be fooled. The ML110 Gen10 is a powerful machine designed to handle various tasks, from small offices and stores to home data storage solutions.

HP ProLiant ML110 Gen10 Server Review

Contents:

Design and Build

HP ProLiant ML110 Gen10 Server Review

This server comes housed in a classic ATX chassis constructed from thick sheet metal, featuring sturdy side panels suitable for lock installation or a specialized anti-vandal cable. Inside, the component layout is well thought out, leaving ample space for potential upgrades, thanks to its integrated HP motherboard.

The chassis dimensions measure 440x480x195 mm, which align with the typical size of modern desktop systems. However, what sets it apart is its unique features.

The front panel is perforated at 70%, ensuring excellent airflow for cooling internal components. This is crucial, considering that the ML110 can accommodate up to 8 LFF or 16 SFF SATA/SAS/SSD drives, making this approach fully justified. Additionally, there's pre-installed space on top for two low-profile DVD drives, although you can opt for a couple of SATA SSDs instead.

At the rear, you'll find the power connectors, PCI slots, 4 USB ports, a standard VGA port for monitor connection, and three Ethernet ports:

  • Two gigabit ports for networking
  • A dedicated port for remote management, iLO 5 version

Depending on the configuration, there are 8/16 hot-swappable drive bays or additional perforations for exhaust fans.

Hardware Capabilities

However, the true strength of the server lies not in its design but in its hardware capabilities. The HP ProLiant ML110 Gen10 is a real workhorse.

The foundation of its platform is a proprietary motherboard concealed by a plastic housing, designed for efficient heat dissipation and distribution. It divides the motherboard into two parts, aided by a massive passive radiator and a 90-millimeter fan. The noise level of this setup is around 44 decibels, which is acceptable for a server machine.

This server supports Intel Xeon Scalable 2nd-generation processors, starting from the 6-core Bronze 3104 and going up to the 14-core Gold 5120. Considering the server's form factor, this is an impressive range of processor options.

For memory, there are 6 slots available, with 3 on each side. The machine can accommodate up to 192 GB of DDR4 RAM with ECC support, using 32 GB sticks. By default, the manufacturer provides a single 8 GB module, but experienced administrators know that dual-channel memory is preferable. Regarding frequency, it's 2133 MHz for Bronze and 2400 MHz for Silver and Gold, respectively.

Scalability Options

HP ProLiant ML110 Gen10 Server Review

A server is more than just a computing powerhouse. What sets the ML110 Gen 10 apart are its expansion capabilities, and it excels in this department. For instance, it boasts 5 full-sized PCI-Express 3.0 slots and 48 dedicated CPU lanes to power them. HPE engineers have optimized the port placement so users can employ "dual" adapters like graphics cards from both nVidia and AMD. All slots are easily accessible and thoughtfully labeled (x4, x8, x16).

There are two USB Type-A ports and a microSD slot, in case the owner wishes to boot in hypervisor mode.

The motherboard comes equipped with a Smart Array S100i Gen10 controller designed for SATA drives and RAID 5 arrays. In total, there are 12 SATA ports and a couple of dedicated slots for M.2 SATA SSDs.

If you want to use SAS drives, you'll need to purchase a Smart Array RAID card from HPE, such as the P408e-p Gen10.

Disk Subsystem

The ML110 Gen10 server's disk system configurations offer two options for HDD/SSD setup:

  • 8 LFF (Four full-sized drives in two rows).
  • 16 SFF (Eight small form-factor drives in a dual-row configuration).

In all cases, hot-swapping is supported (only for SAS drives). To connect drive cages, there are 2 SATA connectors with 4 ports each.

Important note: If you plan to equip it with fast 15,000 RPM SAS drives, use a power supply of at least 500 watts, preferably 800 watts. Additionally, extra cooling considerations may be necessary.

In this format, the server is well-suited for backup, storing QuickBooks documentation, and handling email.

Monitoring and Management Systems

Despite its consumer-oriented segment, the ML110 Gen10 is equipped with an "industrial-grade" iLO 5 controller. It offers a simple and user-friendly interface displaying all essential hardware operation data and the ability to allocate resources flexibly as needed. By increasing the RAM capacity, you can even assign dedicated resource blocks to each client.

To safeguard the system, the iLO controller employs several parameters:

  • Hardware compliance checks.
  • Firmware control.
  • Data encryption.
  • External intrusion detection technology.

Furthermore, HPE has completely abandoned management service agents, which speeds up system boot and eliminates the need for additional software.

The base package includes an iLO 5 Standard license, which encompasses:

  • Server health monitoring.
  • Agentless management.
  • Hardware component checks.
  • Compliance monitoring.
  • Backup capability.
  • Configuration restoration.

However, remote management is not included in the Standard package. For that, you'll need to purchase the iLO Advanced package. Otherwise, iKVM access is available only during BIOS setup, not after the OS boots.

Basic Specifications

HP ProLiant ML110 Gen10 Server Review
HP ProLiant ML110 Gen10 Server Review

If you're planning to purchase the stock ProLiant ML110 Gen10 server, you can expect the following:

  • Chassis: ATX Tower (4.5U).
  • Processor: Intel Xeon Bronze 3104 (6 x 1.7 GHz).
  • RAM: 8 GB DDR4 2133 MHz.
  • HDD: Not included.
  • RAID Support: HP Smart Array S100i SR Gen10 SW (RAID 1, 5, 10).
  • Networking: 2 Ethernet ports at 1 Gbps.
  • Power Supply: 350 watts with cold connection.
  • Management: iLO 5 Standard.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the HPE ProLiant ML110 Gen10 is arguably one of the best entry-level servers. It's spacious, user-friendly, highly scalable, offers a plethora of expansion ports, and will remain relevant for several years, unless you have plans to upgrade to a couple of terabytes of RAM or consider 14 Gold cores as child's play.

The ML110 Gen10 is optimal for local tasks, such as email, QuickBooks, or a small office with around 10 employees. Given the variety of configurations, you can assemble just about anything within reasonable limits.

If you require additional consultation regarding the selection or acquisition of models from this series or any other series, feel free to reach out to the experts at Newserverlife through any of their communication channels.