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HPE ProLiant DL345 Gen10 Plus review: Virtually perfect

An affordable choice for virtualization duties and storage-centric workloads

The HPE ProLiant DL345 server
Price
£3,047 exc VAT
  • Good value
  • Big choice of AMD EPYC CPUs
  • Versatile storage options
  • High expansion potential
  • Extensive remote management features
  • 256GB LRDIMMS are very expensive

HPE's AMD rack server family has always had a sharp focus on memory-intensive workloads, high-performance computing (HPC), and virtualisation duties, and the ProLiant DL345 Gen10 Plus is no exception. A single-socket design keeps costs down but with a maximum of 64 cores up for grabs and a big 4TB memory capacity, it's capable of offering businesses a low cost per virtual machine (VM).

Prices start at £3,047, which gets you a 16-core 3GHz AMD EPYC 7313P Gen3 CPU, 32GB of DDR4 memory, an 8-bay SFF front drive cage managed by a Smart Array P408i-a SR controller (no storage included), and a single 500W hot-plug PSU. HPE offers a good choice of CPUs with the server currently supporting 19 EPYC Gen3 models up to the 64-core 7763 and 7713P.

Businesses that want plenty of storage capacity on tap will find a lot to like here; the DL345 Gen10 Plus offers an impressive range of storage options as it can handle up to 26 SFF HDDs/SSDs, 12 LFF HDDs or even 24 PCI-E Gen4 NVMe SSDs. HPE's Tri-Mode controller cards are also available for this server and bring U.2 and U.3 NVMe SSDs into play along with support for standard SATA/SAS storage devices.

HPE ProLiant DL345 Gen10 Plus review: Storage decisions

Take your time when choosing a storage configuration as there are a lot of options to consider. Base systems start with either a 4-LFF or 8-SFF front drive box and to increase capacity; you just add more boxes along with the appropriate backplanes and RAID controllers to manage them. 

For SFF drives, HPE's standard 8+8+8 drive bay box configuration gives you room for 24 drives at the front which can be pushed to 26 with one dual-bay cage which sits in the centre at the rear. All server models come with an onboard SR100i Smart Array controller which provides software-managed RAID arrays for Windows Server systems only and can handle eight SATA drives or two NVMe SSDs.

The model names of HPE's RAID adapters each tell you what they can do. The E208i-a SR in our system is an essential (no cache), 200-series card supporting eight SAS lanes with internal ports, the 'a' means it's a modular controller that doesn't require a PCI-E slot and is a SmartRAID card as opposed to the MegaRAID-powered MR series. 

If you want NVMe SSDs, you must choose between U.2 or U.3 drives as mixing them is not supported, and you'll need to select the correct drive box as well. Four Tri-Mode cards are on offer with the MR416i and MR216i models available as modular cards or PCI-E adapters all supporting a mixture of NVMe 4, SAS3, and SATA devices.

HPE ProLiant DL345 Gen10 Plus review: Design and expansion

Removing the lid reveals an impressively tidy interior with easy access afforded to all key components. The single CPU socket sits in the centre of the motherboard and is flanked on each side by banks of eight DIMM slots supporting up to 1TB using RDIMMs or 4TB with horrendously expensive 256GB LRDIMMs.

Cooling is handled by a bank of six hot-plug fans with lower-specified servers requiring standard models. Go for 24 SFF bays and you'll need the performance models. 180W TDP EPYC CPUs require high-performance fans and if you opt for a 280W TDP 64-core EPYC 7763 CPU - you must specify max-performance fans.

An OCP 3.0 slot is provided underneath the primary PCI-E riser cage and HPE offers a good range of mezzanine cards including quad Gigabit, dual 10GbE, and dual 10/25GbE. There's plenty of room for more expansion as both the primary and secondary risers each present two PCI-E Gen4 x 16 slots.

Along with the dual hot-plug 800W Platinum PSUs in our system, HPE offers Titanium 800W plus 500W and 1600W Platinum versions. They all use the same Flex Slot design so can be easily swapped out for more powerful modules later on if required

HPE ProLiant DL345 Gen10 Plus review: Management

If you thought storage options were extensive, wait until you get to server management as HPE offers a veritable wealth of tools, utilities, and cloud platforms. First up is the server's embedded iLO5 controller which presents a web console packed with status information on all the server's critical components. All ProLiant servers include a Standard licence with an optional Advanced version enabling extra features such as real-time power and temperature metering, full OS remote control and virtual media services.

After adding the server's iLO5 details to the lab's virtualised Hyper-V HPE OneView 7.2 app, we could monitor the health of all our ProLiant servers, gather inventory and apply configuration templates. OneView provides a central console for all your HPE systems and can monitor hypervisors, storage arrays, pools, and switches as well.

User interface for HPE DL345

We also run HPE's free iLO Amplifier Pack on our Hyper-V server which provides a separate web management console for discovery, inventory, and compliance reporting for up to 10,000 Gen8, Gen9, and Gen10 servers. Its dashboard displays a complete overview of every server and after linking it up with our HPE InfoSight cloud account, we could view details such as critical server health issues, power status and installed hardware from its web portal.

Organisations with geographically distributed on-premises, cloud, and edge compute resources will approve of HPE's GreenLake Compute Ops Management cloud service. From one portal, they can view their entire infrastructure, centrally manage server deployments and automate system lifecycle management and firmware compliance policies.

HPE ProLiant DL345 Gen10 Plus review: Verdict

With AMD EPYC at the helm, HPE's ProLiant DL345 Gen10 Plus 1P rack server offers a core count and memory footprint that are high enough to make it a cost-effective virtualisation alternative to a 2P rack server. Build quality is excellent, it offers a remarkable range of storage configurations with plenty of room to grow with demand and is supported by an abundance of remote management options.

HPE ProLiant DL345 Gen10 Plus specifications (as reviewed)

Chassis

2U rack

CPU

16-core 3GHz AMD EPYC 7313P

Memory

128GB 3,200MHz ECC DDR4 RDIMM (max 4TB with LRDIMMs)

Storage bays

8 x hot-swap SFF (max 26 with rear cage)

RAID

HPE Smart Array E208i-a SR Gen10

Storage included

4 x 960GB SAS3 SFF SSDs

Network

2 x 10GbE OCP 3.0 card

Expansion

2 x PCI-E Gen 4 slots (max 4 with secondary riser)

Power

2 x 800W Platinum hot-plug PSUs

Management

HPE iLO5 Advanced

Warranty

3Yr On-Site NBD

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