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Is the Gen8 right for me?


marshall-stephens
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Hi to everyone at the RESET Forums!

 

For some time I've been procrastinating about starting a project of setting up a NAS to provide a media/backup server at home, something along the lines of a Synology DiskStation as I really liked the DSM interface and software packages, however, after looking at the reviews it appeared that these types of NAS aren't designed to be upgradeable in terms of processor and/or RAM, so it's imperative to get it right first time otherwise it can be a costly mistake.

 

I then started to notice lots of hype surrounding the HP ProLiant Gen8 Microserver and the incredible deals that were to be had - unfortunately I let that project sit on the back shelf for far too long and it appears HP have since replaced it with a Gen10 version, which alas has moved more towards the Synology NAS in terms of non-upgradeable processor, so it looks as though my only choice is to purchase a second-hand Gen8 with/without the upgrades already made.

 

While I have a background in IT as a Desktop Support Consultant, servers were dealt with by another department in the organisation I worked for, and factoring in that I've been out of the business for almost 10 years due to illness, I'll admit that it's quite overwhelming trying to learn something new and I could really do with some assistance, so... for now, the server would be utilised for general data storage to include incremental backups of computers, a media server (using Plex as my TVs can run the client app and play multiple file formats), a surveillance station (for a couple of IP cameras), and perhaps HomeBridge.

 

I would also like to be able to run the occasional virtual machine.  I'm aware that HP offers the use of ESXi, which from what I understand, basically acts like a boot loader to run the virtual machine directly on the hardware, instead of within an OS, which is what I currently do with the macOS in VMware Workstation Player on my computer.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but if I wanted the server to run the aforementioned tasks separate to a virtual machine, I assume ESXi isn't the option I'd use, for that I would need to continue using my current method by having an OS on the server which runs VMWare Workstation Player as a program?

 

If so, that would be great as it would allow me to launch the virtual machine on the server and use it as an additional computer when required, even setting up the second ethernet port as a dedicated connection just for that.  I know the server only has a VGA connection, so it would be wise to get a low-profile DVI or HDMI graphics card for decent resolution if I were going to use it as a separate computer - any suggestions? This also leads me to ask, which OS?  As I mentioned previously, I really like the DSM interface and software packages, and I'm pretty sure it is OpenSource so it can be run on the Gen8.

 

Finally, I've noticed there is an iLo port on the server.  I understand what it is for, and the differences between the essential and advanced licenses, but I'm assuming this isn't the only way to remote access the server?  For example, if I were to run DSM or another OS I could still connect to it over the Internet, same as I could with an everyday computer?  Also, with regards to the iLo license, I've noticed some sellers say they have purchased an advanced license, but is that it, or is there a reoccurring charge to renew it?

 

Thanks so much in advance for taking the time to read my post and for your input.

 

Ryan.

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Yes, the MS Gen8 is right for you. I am running it about a year - Nas4Free as a server OS and host OS for VMs. Ubuntu Server 16.04 as a guest OS for OpenVPN server and CUPS server. You can easily find iLO advanced keys in Internet. You can upgrade the stock CPU with much more powerful Xeon CPU. I really fell in love with this little box :) The second hand option is viable, but it is still possible to find new boxes on the market. The Virtualbox included in Nas4Free works like a charm as hypervisor for VMs.

Edited by netware5
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Yes, the MS Gen8 is right for you. I am running it about a year - Nas4Free as a server OS and host OS for VMs. Ubuntu Server 16.04 as a guest OS for OpenVPN server and CUPS server. You can easily find iLO advanced keys in Internet. You can upgrade the stock CPU with much more powerful Xeon CPU. I really fell in love with this little box :) The second hand option is viable, but it is still possible to find new boxes on the market. The Virtualbox included in Nas4Free works like a charm as hypervisor for VMs.

 

Awesome, that's just what I wanted to hear!

 

I'm currently watching some used Gen8's on eBay, and for roughly the same price as purchasing a new Synology NAS (without HDDs), I can get the Gen8 already upgraded with an Intel Xeon processor, maximum RAM, an SSD and a few TB HDDs - it's a no brainer - of course, I'd be happy to purchase a base model (new or used) and do the upgrades myself, but it's whether or not the parts are easily available.

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I started off many moons ago with storage in my PC, by the time I started looking at NAS I had a full tower case full of drives and additional cards with drives hanging out of them, then I got a NAS, that was slow, so I replaced it with a faster one, then another NAS, then finally a Gen7, then a Gen8, then after being made to wait for an age for HP to give us the Gen9 I built my own box, the Gen9 never came, the Gen10 did, but by that time I had my own build.
 

The Gen8 is a lovely box, it really is, but the cost in upgrading it really sucks, I bought my E3-1260L, P222 and heat pipe heatsink at full price, you are already mentioning VM's so CPU's and RAM will become important, and costly..
I've got my server (Frank) sat behind me now with 2 SSD's, 6/7 HDD's and 32Gb of RAM, its not as small as the Gen8 but its better and fits for me, your mileage might vary but you will get a lot more flexibility, and it'll be more cost friendly, if you skip straight to a custom build, IMHO of course, I've spent countless hours and ££££'s on something that was good enough at the time but ultimately lacked the capacity to be properly futureproof...

Granted, if I didn't have the Gen7 or Gen8 then I wouldn't have found these forums, not sure if that's good for everyone else here you'd have to ask them lol....

Edited by Trig0r
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I've just spotted this on eBay...

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/HP-ProLiant-G1610T-MICRO-SERVER-GEN-8-NOT-FULLY-TESTED-SO-SOLD-AS-SPARES-REPAIRS/202270225976?epid=219661593&hash=item2f183eb638:g:ErcAAOSwwARap6b-

 

I noticed the BIOS hasn't been updated from 2013, and with just one drive caddy missing, it does make me wonder whether the original owner wasn't exactly that technically minded...obviously I expect it to go up in price during it's auction period, but I'd like to think it's a great starting point.

 

It's just whether I can source one of the recommended faster CPUs and RAM (it only comes with 4GB) in the UK, as everything seems to be in China/Hong Kong, and while I know the HDDs and an iLo Advance License Key (should I decide I require it) are easy to obtain, I'm not sure whether I'd be able to keep the total cost of bringing this particular server up-to-date at around £300-350 when there are other second-hands available that have had all the work completed and come with some combination of SSD/HDD.

 

Hmmm...

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