HPE ProLiant DL Servers Review

We've virtualized and consolidated our servers, reducing our carbon footprint, although boot-up time should be reduced.


What is our primary use case?

Virtualized servers, failover production and dev/test environments of Linux and Windows guests.

How has it helped my organization?

We have been able to virtualize many physical servers into virtual servers running on a smaller number of physical hosts. This has allowed us to consolidate and reduce our carbon footprint in the data center and have a higher ROI on Capex purchases. Also becomes easier to introduce new hardware as part of replacement cycles as VMs are hardware independent.

What is most valuable?

  • iLO gives hardware information, preempting imminent failures.
  • Redundancy features provide hot-swap ability for drives and power supplies and automatic rebuilding of RAIDs.

What needs improvement?

Boot-up time should be reduced. Restarting a server at any time is a stress-filled occasion, and waiting around for the server to come back on is agonizing. 10GB and 40GB ethernet connections are essential for virtualization workloads and consolidation.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability can be adversely affected if non-HP certified RAM is used, e.g. Kingston value RAM has failed a few times, bringing an entire server down.

How is customer service and technical support?

Excellent, the support is one area where I can have no complaints. Whenever a hardware failure has been detected, HP have responded in good time and the part was delivered within the agreed SLA. Having said that, the original parts availability outside the established channels also makes it easy (cheaper) to maintain, especially in non-critical environments i.e. dev and test.

Which solutions did we use previously?

I've used HP servers predominantly so do not have much else to compare them with.

How was the initial setup?

It's simple. Use the included SmartStart media, and it seamlessly integrates with the OS of choice.

What about the implementation team?

In-house. I have found the rack mounting kits more of a challenge then the installation of the OS/hypervisor, that is how simple implementation is. Also, keep an eye on which version of the SmartStart media you use i.e. x86 vs. x64 as that limits what kind of OS media can be utilized.

What was our ROI?

ROI is difficult to say because it depends on the type of implementation e.g. is it a new deployment or consolidating an existing an existing one or simply replacing like for like. What I would say, is that the platforms are very stable and once setup, will most likely outlast any hardware replacement cycle in place.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Ensure that you get the hardware support with 24x7 four hour response if this is a high availability production environment, and purchase appropriate iLO licenses if needed.

What other advice do I have?

The only thing I don't like about them is that if/when you have to restart it, it takes a long time to come back on. As the sea of sensors have increased in recent generations, the time has become longer.

Define your storage needs in advance and then plan the disks accordingly. Suggest that if flash storage is financially feasible, then invest in that as the performance benefits are worth it.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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