The Gen 8 MicroServer uses the Broadcom BCM5720 for the two main network ports. The best way to update all of the firmware and BIOS is to use the HPE SPP.
You should not need to download any drivers for the built in network ports for Server 2016. The 8 drivers listed are for other HPE add in cards.
Thank you very much - I was getting bogged down in the vast amount of options, and I really wasn't sure if I was on the right path. I figured I could get the server up and running quickly and research the technologies afterwards.
Ubuntu Server has now installed - you mentioned a 1 or 2TB drive. My drive is 3TB, and I remember reading somewhere about 2TB maximum boot drives. The Ubuntu installation wizard didn't mention anything - it was happy to partition 3TB and install Grub. I re-ran the setup using 2TB and the boot is working fine now.
Do you think RAID is worthwhile with 1 HDD?
I chose Ubuntu Server for it's competitive pricing (ahem) and because I was familiar with running instances through Virtualbox. I'm a .NET developer, and am hoping to try out some of the cross platform tools. You mention a number of linux distributions in your post - which would you choose and why?
I use EAC and rip to WAV, then I use Itunes to convert them to ALAC. If you are using something different from alac you can have EAC do rip 'straight to' that format. I got into EAC because it can compare the results to others' to make sure every bit is captured accurately.
I have not used it, but Exact Audio Copy seems to be the favorite among HiFi folks. Here is a good guide to set it up: