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HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 - Performance

ACROFAN=Yong-Man Kwon | Published : Sunday, August 20, 2017, 7:11 pm
'HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10' is available in various forms in home or small office, while maintaining practical configuration and reliability in a small form factor that was the advantage of the existing HPE MicroServer. AMD's Opteron quad-core APU offers practical performance in both processor and graphics performance, and configurations with four hard drive bays in a small form factor will allow for a variety of storage-centric applications.

▲ MicroServer Gen10 with significantly improved visual performance while maintaining the benefits of a form factor
▲ Test system configuration

The test system utilized the most basic configuration. The equipped APU is AMD Opteron X3421, which has four compute cores and up to 3.4GHz operating speed. The GPU consists of eight compute units, a DDR4-2400 memory controller, and a TDP of 12 to 35W. The memory used was a single channel configuration with one 8GB DDR4-2400 UDIMM, and a hard disk used was single 1TB. The operating system used in the test utilized CentOS 7.3, which is the most widely available.

The test was to understand the basic computing capability and performance characteristics. As 'ProLiant MicroServer Gen10' became significantly different from the previous generation in terms of processor architecture, number of cores, and system configuration, there should be a need for considering new ways to utilize it. In particular, the use of GPU, which supports quad-core processors, more memory, and high-resolution displays, is expected to broaden the use of this system.

▲ SciMark 2.0 test result, unit is Mflops, the higher the better

▲ FFTW test result, unit is Mflops, the higher the better

▲ Memory performance test result, unit is MB/s, the higher the better

The core performance of Opteron X3421 processor shown in the results of SciMark 2.0, which can identify single-core performance of the processor, is not so impressive. Given the constraints of 35W TDP in terms of power consumption, it is hard to say that core performance will gain the upper hand even compared to Intel's Pentium processors, which was used in the previous generations. This, of course, has been a common occurrence for many years in comparisons between Intel and AMD processors.

However, in terms of multicore performance, there are advantages that come from having more cores than previous generations. Compared to Intel's dual-core processors used by previous generations, the core performance might be inferior, but the number of cores is larger, so it can have a slight advantage over overall performance. Of course, depending on the characteristics of the architecture, some types of workloads may be able to outperform the overall trend, but considering this, there would be no big complaint overall.

In terms of memory performance, it uses the latest DDR4 memory specification, but it also shows the limitations of single channel configuration. The performance of 6~8GB/s per channel is understandable considering the sharing of internal graphics core and memory. In dual channel configuration, it is expected that performance will be improved in many more cases. In addition, as it moved to DDR4, there is an advantage besides performance that it is able to configure more than 16GB of memory without burdening at two sockets.

▲ Timed Benchmark Series, unit is sec, the lower the better

▲ Computing/Disk Benchmark Series, the higher the better

▲ DBench, unit is MB/s, the higher the better

The HPE MicroServer Gen10 is comparable to a mainstream rack server a few years ago. This can be interpreted in another sense when considering that the system is based on a low-power platform based on storage-centric use for small groups. In particular, considering quad-core processors and relatively large amounts of memory and storage, the system is expected to organize a lightweight virtualization environment for web or storage services and enable more diverse applications. This was possible due to the new quad-core processor.

The storage performance of the test system shows the basic performance in its degree even though it configures 7,200rpm LFF single hard disk. Particularly, PostMark, which measures disk transaction performance, shows excellent performance and SQLite also has a good results more than expected comparable to system configuration. Of course, there will be no need to run an important database service on this MicroServer, but it can be used with a file server and a small DB service for a web portal and a blog without burdens.

The attraction of this model is that it can be used as a high-capacity multi-purpose system with four hard drives in a small form factor of low power. This system did not support RAID 5 by hardware level even using 4 HDDs, but a software-based RAID can be an alternative to it. In addition, the storage performance is expected to be greatly improved by adding HDDs, controlling workloads per drive, or configuring RAID. In a configuration for actual use, you can expect better performance with more drives.

▲ 3DMark (Sky Diver) test result, the higher the better

▲ PCMark 10 test result, the higher the better

The difference in MicroServer Gen10 from previous generations is 'graphics', which is equipped with a third-generation GCN-based graphics core embedded in the processor and two DP ports to support 4K and dual monitor configurations. This is a feature that does not have much practicality for a typical form of remote server. However, in the case of local multimedia use, the built-in graphics performance enables a new type of utilization. In particular, this graphics core supports hardware acceleration up to 4K, H.265 HEVC video specifications.

Compared to APUs for existing desktop PCs, the configuration of Opteron X3421 APU has a fairly good configuration except for the difference in operating speed due to TDP, as it has four processor cores and eight GPU compute modules. Therefore, although MicroServer Gen10 plays a role mainly as a server that emphasizes stability, performance can be expected even if it is directly used as a PC. Moreover, by separating the service side through virtualization, it can only take advantage of the incompatible Windows and Linux-based operating environments.

On the other hand, Windows seems to be more advantageous than Linux in utilizing graphics-related performance. The problem with Linux seems to be a driver. In the combination of the default open source driver, D-SUB, and certain brands of monitors in Red Hat Linux, there is a problem of incapable of outputting the screen due to monitor recognition problems in the graphic environment. Also, in many parts such as UI, API support and multimedia support, Windows has more advantageous aspects.

▲ Main specification of HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10

HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10 is unique in the ProLiant products, despite the lack of iLO or Smart Array that are characteristics of the 'ProLiant'. It is now refined into a more sophisticated form by securing high reliability, which is appropriate for the name of 'ProLiant', and maintaining the advantages of unique form factors that the existing MicroServer had. At the same time, the point that raises efficiency by using APU with powerful graphic performance could be one of the features of this system.

Gen10 micro-server, which obtained the graphics-related performance but lost remote management functions in terms of configuration, might need to be worried about the configuration in order to emphasize all the features of low power, graphics, and storage. In terms of configuration, the Gen10 micro-server gets the graphics-related performance, but loses remote management functions, and it might need some worries about the configuration in order to take advantage of all the features of low power, graphics, and storage. The points that it can be deployed in small spaces such as home or small office and it can simultaneously obtain business support of individual or group through storage and utilization of multimedia performance such as video playback in home or conference room as a system point, could be fairly attractive application methods for the users who consider this system.

Of course, even if not using all of these, MicroServer Gen10 has enough strength in terms of low power, unique form factor configuration and reliability. Moreover, the new operating system option, ClearOS, allows most of the configuration and management after the basic installation to be web-based, overcoming the inconveniences of remote management and becoming comparable with existing NASs at the level of functionality and convenience. Also, it will be a significant change that MicroServer Gen10 has very attractive characteristic to users who consider to decide the existing NAS or home-use one by adding new possibilities while maintaining its unique advantages.

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