New HP Proliant Microserver N40L

HP have recently updated their Proliant Microserver to sport a slightly nippier processor. As well as the 250Gb SATA drive it also now comes with 2Gb RAM as standard – although if you’re thinking of using one for a home lab Virtual Infrastructure you’d need to replace that with 2 x 4Gb sticks anyway.

HP’s ongoing cashback deal for this little gem is still running too. Before cashback they’re about £200 + VAT meaning that once you get your cheque back from HP, they work out at only £120 each. Not bad at all for a home lab and the AMD NEO N40L 1.5Ghz dual-core processor should be enough to handle a reasonable lab-like load.

ServersPlus are one of the places in the UK to pick one of these servers up. They even offer an ESXi 5 testbed bundle that includes the 8Gb RAM and an optical drive.

These little servers are great lab servers if you need something small and quiet. I have 3 of them running more or less full time at home and my wife hasn’t complained about the electricity bill… yet.

  1. Hi Michael,
    I’ve started doing some CBT training on vsphere and thought that it would be best if I had something I could mess about with at home. Thing is I’m on a bit of a budget (who isn’t? but working for a local authority puts even more constraints on me). Now I’ve read a few blogposts this morning and found alot of people are using NAS boxes. I love the look of the Synology 1512+ but its well out of my budget for the time being. So what I am thinking, is having 3 HP N40L’s – two as ESXi hosts and one as a NAS box to store the VM’s and other media.. Is there anything you can recommend to get the NAS box up and running with all the required features?

    • Darren,

      I know exactly where you’re coming from budget wise. I’m using one of my N36Ls as a storage server at the moment too. Your mileage will vary depending on the disks that you use and how you implement the storage. I’m using FreeNAS. Being free helps with the budget and vSphere works well with it. There are a few tutorials around for getting it up and running if you search for them. Currently I’ve stuck two larger disks in as a RAID volume with two small SSDs added as read and write caches. It seems to work well enough although I’ve got plans to do something else in the future.

  2. Hi,
    Have one of these on its way to me. Do you know if they support AMD-vi at all? I want to be able to pass through a SATA controller to a VM.

    • Sadly you can’t do that with them. Or at least not with the built-in SATA controller. It’s unsupported but you can pass a local SATA disk through to a VM as an RDM. I’ve done that in the past.

  3. Hi there,

    Just wondering how you are getting on with the microservers? Looking to setup an ESXi environment at home so I can practice for my VCP5 exam.

    Was going to purchase x2 of these, and use my ReadyNAS NVX as my NAS.



    • Gabi,

      They’re good little boxes. I need to update my labs section a bit to describe what I have setup at present Essentially though, they’ll allow you to do most things albeit a bit more slowly than with enterprise grade kit. But then it’s a lab isn’t it 🙂


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