IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Review: HP MicroServer Gen8

Round about 2008 my company put together a package we call the Cloud Five Pack. Basically, it's a bundle of up to five licenses for a series services that we believe provide "All the technology you need in a small business."

We sell the bundle along with managed services. It goes over VERY well with 5-, 10-, and 15-user offices. At the time I think we had five full time technicians and we moved fifteen of our clients to that service in one month!

Most of those services are cloud-based (email, web, spam filtering, remote management, storage, etc.). But we find that it's still handy to have a little server onsite for very specific purposes. We use the local server for security, logons, backup, and the occasional line of business application.

We call it "Server Lite" and build it on technology we own. That is to say, we provide a Lite server to the client for a monthly service payment. My company owns the server and the operating system.

Our favorite server for this is the HP MicroServer, currently in Gen8. Here's a review of that machine:

The machine reviewed here is currently configured as follows:

  • Xeon E3-1220L v2 processor - 2.3 GHz / 3.5 turbo
  • 64 bit Windows Server Essentials
  • 16 GB ECC RAM
  • 32 GB MicroSD card internal - contains the operating system
  • 4 x 1TB SATA drives
  • onboard RAID controller
  • GB ethernet x 2
  • ILO - Integrated Lights Out port
  • 4 external USB 2.0 ports
  • 2 external USB 3.0 ports
  • 1 internal USB 2.0 port

If you want to price this at your distributor, the SKU is 783959-S01

Note: I incorrectly stated in this video that a CD/DVD drive is standard. It is not.

This machine is awesome. Fits nicely on any shelf and works perfectly headless. Between ILO, RDP, and the LogicNow remote access, I never have trouble getting to the server!

For more information on the Cloud Five Pack, see

Gotta say - this machine is WAY more powerful than the machines we used to load up with Small Business Server, especially back in the days of 32 bit processing and limited RAM. You could stress this a lot more than we do, but with the light duty we give them, we expect them to perform perfectly for 3-4 years.

We used to sell bigger servers, such as ML350 or DL380 loaded with Windows Server Standard, upgraded RAID controllers, and all the goodies. Those machines ran $5,000-$7,000 with software - plus labor. And while those were great, profitable projects, they were hard on the client.

Eventually it became clear that the right thing for the client was to move to mostly cloud services and away from capital expenditures. Our cloud five pack does that - and the HP MicroServer allows us to do it with rock solid dependability.

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Related blogs:

- Installing the operating system on a MicroSD:

- Server Documentation Part One:

- Server Documentation Part Two:

- Server Documentation Part Three:
Will be posted next week. Stay tuned.


About the Author

Karl W. Palachuk, is a technology consultant, author, speaker, trainer, and coach. He is the author of fifteen books. He has built several successful businesses, including two managed services companies. His books include Managed Services in a Month and The Network Documentation Workbook. Karl is a frequent trainer and speaker in the SMB Community. His popular blog can be found at He has more than twenty years experience as an I.T. professional and serves on advisory panels for several hardware and software companies.

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