HPE ProLiant ML350 Gen10 review: A perfect balance of power and value

A top value Xeon Scalable tower for SMEs that can be easily upgraded to cope with future demand

Editor's Choice
Price
£1,799
  • Outstanding upgrade potential; Great management; Robust storage choices
  • Certain upgrades require additional cooling

Fast growing SMEs looking for a tower server that can keep up with them will find HPE's ProLiant ML350 Gen10 a good partner. It adheres to HPE's mantra of 'buy now, upgrade later' so you can keep costs under control by specifying a basic system and easily add more components such as extra CPUs, memory and storage as demand increases.

The ML350 Gen10 may be HPE's most powerful tower but prices start low with the pre-configured sub-entry model (877619-031) costing 1,443 and equipped with a 6-core 1.7GHz Xeon Bronze 3104 CPU, 8GB of DDR4 and an embedded S100i SATA controller. We tested the Base model (877621-031) which only costs 356 more and sports an 8-core 2.1GHz Xeon Silver 4110 CPU, 16GB of DDR4 and a Smart Array P408i-a RAID card which adds 12Gbits/sec SAS 3 support to the storage mix.

Storage choices are extensive. The ML350 Gen10 employs HPE's standard 8+8+8 drive bay configuration layout, allowing the single SFF hot-swap cage in our system to be upgraded to a total of 24 drives in three blocks. If you want the highest storage capacity, you can choose models with 12 LFF bays certified for 12TB drives.

The P408i-a controller supports every conceivable RAID array type, has 2GB of battery-protected cache and occupies a dedicated expansion slot at the top of the motherboard. Ours was cabled directly to the SFF drive cage and adding HPE's SAS expander card allows it to manage all 24 bays.

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There's even more room for growth elsewhere, too. The motherboard has dual CPU sockets supporting the entire Xeon Scalable family, while its 24 DIMM slots allow the server to be expanded to a massive 3TB of memory. The server includes a quartet of Gigabit ports and the eight spare PCI-Express slots mean there's plenty of room to upgrade to 10-Gigabit speeds.

If you want the server to host high-demand apps, that's no problem as its supports up to 8 super-fast NVMe SSDs. A dedicated cage is installed in the centre location and its data ports are cabled to two NVMe riser cards fitted in the first and third PCI-Express expansion slots.

All entry models have two cooling fans fitted at the rear of a large plastic air shroud covering most of the motherboard. Many upgrades, including dual CPUs and the 24-drive chassis, require HPE's optional redundant fan kit which comprises four hot-swap fans mounted behind the drive backplane.

Remote management is one of this server's star qualities, as it comes with HPE's iLO5 chip and a Standard license. Its web interface is packed with useful information about critical components and upgrading to an Advanced or Essentials license enables power metering, full OS remote control and virtual media services.

Platform security is watertight; the iLO5 features Secure Start, Secure Recovery and breach detection technology. Firmware is validated during startup using HPE's silicon root of trust fingerprinting and this will stop the server booting if it detects firmware tampering.

We used HPE's iLO Mobile iOS app to remotely access the iLO5 from our iPad and found it provided the same level of server details as the standard web interface. We also added the server's iLO5 details to the lab's virtualized Hyper-V HPE OneView app where we could monitor all our ProLiant servers and view power usage plus temperatures and use its tools for controlling power and running remote control sessions.

The ProLiant ML350 Gen10 is a well-built and highly flexible Xeon Scalable tower server offering everything a growing business needs at a great price. Its perfect balance of value, features and upgrade potential earns it a well-deserved Editor's Choice award.

Verdict

The ProLiant ML350 Gen10 is a well-built and highly flexible Xeon Scalable tower server offering everything a growing business needs at a great price. Its perfect balance of value, features and upgrade potential earns it a well-deserved Editor's Choice award.

Tower chassis 2.1GHz Xeon Silver 4110 CPU (max 2) 16GB 2,400MHz DDR4 (max 3TB) HP Smart Array P408i-a SR Gen10 SAS3 RAID Supports RAID0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, 60, ADM/10 No HDDs as standard (max 24 SFF/12 LFF) Hot-swap SFF 8-bay backplane 4 x Gigabit 8 x PCI-E 3 800W hot-plug PSU (max 2) HP iLO5 Standard 175 x 685 x 466mm (WDH) Max 205W TDP 3yr on-site NBD warranty

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