HPE ProLiant ML30 Gen10 Server ReviewMay 23, 2020
Let’s take a look at the affordable, yet powerful, HPE ProLiant ML30 Gen10 server! Apparently, these single-socket tower servers are very popular for small, remote, or branch office deployments. Along with that single processor and no, it’s not a Scalable processor, this system will support up to 64GB of memory.
It looks a lot like all of HPE’s other tower servers with an unmistakable design similarity to the interior of the Death Star. You know that scene when Obi-Wan shuts off the tractor beams for the entire moon-sized structure?
The system will support up to 4x SATA drives natively, plus an M.2 slot integrated with the system board to support your OS. It’s lockable and won’t take up much room. This has also been described as an edge server, maybe not a rugged edge server like the HPE Edgeline 1000 we reviewed a few months ago, but one that can support your far-flung office locations without connecting to the mothership for processing.
On the front of the system there’s a removable bezel, a Power On button, a USB 3.0 port on the left, USB 2.0 on the right and a health status LED right next to the power button. The front bezel can be secured with a lock. Underneath you will see we have 4x 3.5-inch drive bays. Above that are two media bays for optional goodies, which we will get to in a moment. Another system configuration comes with 8x 2.5-inch drive bays. The HPE Microserver Gen10 is the next step down from the ML30 and is like a cute little bread box sized server at 32GB capacity. The next tower up is the ML110 Gen10, which we also reviewed a while back, and that one does have Intel Xeon Scalable processors.
On the back of the system, starting at the top, there are two 80 Plus Platinum 500W power supplies with one for optional redundancy. Below that are several ports including; a VGA port, a serial port, 4x USB 3.0 ports, 2x NIC ports, and a dedicated management port to access the integrated lights out 5.0 module. Lastly, there are four PCIe slots to support options.
Security features on the back include a loop for a lock and a Kensington slot for a cable lock. A few more security features include HPE’s “Silicone Root of Trust” protecting your firmware from attack, which works with Secure Recovery to roll back to the last known good-state after compromised code is discovered.
Once we unscrew the thumb screws and remove the cover, you can see the motherboard and the single socket with four memory module slots to the side. Cooling of the PCIe slots is accomplished by a lower fan pushing air through a plastic cowl. The upper portion has a fan at the back, pulling air through the chassis and over the memory modules. A radial heat sink for the processor has an integrated fan.
Processors & DIMMs
Processors supported on the system include the Intel Xeon E processors with 2 to 6 cores, but you can also use Intel Core i3 or Pentium processors. PENTIUM. I bet you haven’t heard that term in a while. Depending on your choice of processors, memory speed will run at up to 2400Mhz using Pentium or Core i3 CPUs or up to 2666MHz when using the Intel Xeon E-series processors. Our system came outfitted with a quad core Intel Xeon E-2134 processor with a TDP of 71W, part of the Coffee Lake family of processors. Only DDR4 ECC unbuffered memory modules are supported with each processor delivering 2x memory channels with a maximum of two UDIMMs per channel. With all four slots loaded with 16GB memory modules, you get a maximum of 64GB.
The optional iLO port on the back of the chassis provides access to the integrated Lights Out module for at-chassis and remote management of the system. The dedicated management port is optional, and a cost savings for some applications. Clearly, we don’t have that one. That said there are still ways to access the integrated management module using one of the integrated 1GbE ports in “Shared Mode” if you decide to purchase the system without the dedicated port. It should be noted that only the Advanced iLO license provides remote access, power metering of the system, plus a few other goodies.
A new feature on this platform is HPE InfoSight. It’s a cloud-based, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics tool to track and prevent potential problems with your network. Keep in mind, if you’re just starting your new business this feature and the remote access plus power metering is probably overkill, and an added expense.
There are four PCIe 3.0 slots under the air shroud, with one x16 mechanical slot that also has a X16 electrical lane that connects directly to the CPU. The other slots may appear to be x8 or x16, but only support a x4 electrical connection with open ends to accept larger cards.
A dedicated M.2 slot on the system board provides a x2 electrical lane, which does strangle the performance a bit given the full speed is only realized with a x4 connection, but still quite handy for a boot drive! The PCIe slots can support a 12Gb/s SAS controller card, faster network card options and even a graphics cards for light AutoCAD, and support of moderate graphics modeling and medical imaging.
Supported computation and Graphics Accelerators include the Nvidia P2000 and two AMD Radeon Pro cards the WX4100 and the WX2100 but only one.
All four of the front mounted drives can be connected to the integrated S100i controller with the 3.5-inch drive bay chassis configuration. With the 8-bay 2.5-inch chassis, half the drives can be connected, but you will need a SAS HD/RAID controller in one of those PCIe lanes if you want to install all eight drives. Each of the two media bays will also support an optional non-hot-plug HDD cage for one or two LFF drives or you can install an optional optical drive in one of the media bays. As this is a remote server, you also might want to consider some kind of backup system, also supported on this system. Supported software includes Windows Server, Linus and HPE’s proprietary Clear OS, which allows you to build that fully functional server through add on modules from their application marketplace.
As a remote, branch office or edge server, the HPE ProLiant ML30 Gen10 delivers some very impressive enterprise features at the very bottom of HPE’s server tower line. It offers all the bells and whistles associated with the performance models just in smaller quantities, and for a business that’s just starting out it’s pretty much all you’ll need… at least for a little while.
We do want to make a note that the biggest critique of this system is the cost of Advanced iLO 5.0, which doesn’t add a whole lot to the cost, but it’s a consideration.
And just to remind you, IT Creations carries this server and many others. If you need processors, memory, storage, hard to find parts, and the highest performing GPUs on the market, at competitive pricing, then check out IT Creations.