HP DL38p Gen8 Gains High Marks for Clear, Tool-Less Hardware Details

By Cameron Sturdevant  |  Posted 2012-05-29 Print this article Print

Physical hardware should be judged, in part, by the design details directly related to field configurability and service. The HP DL380p Gen8 gained high marks in this area for clear, tool-less hardware details that make it simple to add to any data center operations workflow. The easy-to-use rail kit (one of the first I€™ve used that didn€™t result in a cut or nick as I was installing it in the eWEEK Labs test rack), quick-access top lid and clearly marked internal components should reduce time and error in field-service operations.

Other internal changes that make the HP DL380p Gen8 easy to slot into the data center include a clear cooling cowl that made it easy for me to see where memory was installed and extensive use of internal cable guides to keep cooling channels clear while also making component changes easier by keeping cables out of the way. The HP DL380p Gen8 is available with up to 94 percent efficient power supplies.


The HP Integrated Lights-Out (iLO) Management Engine is HP€™s embedded server management toolset and is similar to the Dell Remote Access Controller (DRAC) or IBM€™s Remote Supervisor Adapter.

I used the newly enhanced iLO Management Engine (think iLO 4) to keep careful tabs on the operational characteristics of my test system. While the HP €œsea of sensors€ that track nearly every physical component that spins or gets hot isn€™t new, iLO now tracks metrics from the moment power is supplied to the system, even during the pre-boot period.

To further ease the installation and maintenance process, every ProLiant server, including my test HP DL380p Gen8, includes a NAND flash drive inside the server. Rather than shipping deployment and management tools on CDs or DVDs, these necessary software components are now supplied on the flash assembly inside the chassis. Including a flash drive inside data center servers isn€™t entirely new. But in Gen8 servers and in my test HP DL380p system, the inclusion of all necessary management and diagnostics tools was a big improvement over previous versions of the DL380.

HP Intelligent Provisioning, HP Agentless Management, RAID configuration and diagnostics, HP Active Health System and HP Insight Control, among other utilities, were all available to me without having to hunt around for disks (or, for that matter, an external optical disk drive to make the utilities available).

Of special interest in the HP DL380p Gen8 is the new HP Active Health System (AHS.) The AHS monitored all significant configuration and operational events from the time I first applied power to the HP DL380p Gen8 system. While I didn€™t have any cause to use the data€”which is essentially similar to a flight data recorder€”the AHS will clearly make system troubleshooting significantly easier.

As expected, the HP DL380p Gen8 fit right into my VMware vSphere 5.0 test environment and worked reliably in my test environment.


Cameron Sturdevant Cameron Sturdevant has been with the Labs since 1997, and before that paid his IT management dues at a software publishing firm working with several Fortune 100 companies. Cameron also spent two years with a database development firm, integrating applications with mainframe legacy programs. Cameron's areas of expertise include virtual and physical IT infrastructure, cloud computing, enterprise networking and mobility, with a focus on Android in the enterprise. In addition to reviews, Cameron has covered monolithic enterprise management systems throughout their lifecycles, providing the eWEEK reader with all-important history and context. Cameron takes special care in cultivating his IT manager contacts, to ensure that his reviews and analysis are grounded in real-world concern. Cameron is a regular speaker at Ziff-Davis Enterprise online and face-to-face events. Follow Cameron on Twitter at csturdevant, or reach him by email at csturdevant@eweek.com.

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