HPE EC200A Xeon D-1518 'hybrid server' on ebay ~$150

Dark

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Marsh

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I have 6 SM x10slh system.
Running Proxmox OS with vyos vm, using vyos as a switch as well as a router getting ~90% of 10gb speed.
See my post in that thread.
 

WANg

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That led to finding the HPE TM200 (similar box), which also led me here: https://forums.servethehome.com/index.php?threads/hpe-proliant-thin-micro-server-tm200.14042/
It's probably the same hardware underneath but with different software/support licensing. One of the more nausea-inducing aspects of buying HPe is that even small things like BIOS updates require a support contract/entitlement. You might (note: might) be able to cross flash the EC200a with the BIOS/firmware with the TM200 and hopefully that'll allow it to run normal software stack instead of whatever the heck HPe sold with it. If you bought one, better start looking here for someone who has HPe entitlement through work who might be able to get you firmware downloads.

As for the EC200a, it's really hard to feel too good about it. 150 USD for a gimped Broadwell-DE CPU+chassis, no RAM, only 2 drives max (no caddies included) unless you buy the expansion box (which is fairly rare and costs at least 500 USD) - it's like a "server grade NUC" and doesn't take advantage of the larger chassis to host more RAM slots (64GB max via 2x 288pin DDR4 32GB DIMMs) or PCIe expansion capability (no 10/40/100GbE). It doesn't even have the X552/557 embedded 10GbE connectivity common to the Xeon-D 1000 series platform. It's built into the SoC, all it needs is the copper interconnect and the magnetics, but yet, it's not offered here. A i5-6500T equipped TinyMicroMini boxes will match its performance while taking up less space and be more friendly to your electrical circuits. If the corporate NUC has a secondary NIC option, it'll be a better choice.

The box as sold new doesn't make too much sense either. it's not dense, it's not that powerful, stand-alone storage is kinda minimal (why dual large spinners instead of SSDs...?) without the expansion module, and it's rather quiet for a server (no shrieking banshee server fans?). Why would such a machine exist? Just where did HPe expect these servers to be deployed?

Hmm..I wonder if these are inventory liquidations from the COVID-19 retail apocalypse - they do seem to make sense as in-store processors sitting in the manager’s offices. Which major American retail firm is based near the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio? Hmmm...Signet Jewellers? Victoria’s Secret? White Barn (subsidiary of Bath and Body Works)?
 
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Dark

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This system certainly has its shortcomings but at $150 it’s hard to find something comparable for the same amount. 6700t chips alone are near that price (sure better deals are out there).
At least with this you get registered ECC support and ilo.

The closest I have come to this in terms of budget has been the ASRock Xeon D-1541 board at ~$200...but that was just the board.
 
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newabc

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If someone just wants a low TDP box as a hypervisor at home, I think a form factor with a PCIe slot like HP T730/T740/ WYSE 5070 extended will be better.
Of cause, Xeon D or C2000/C3000 with register ECC ram has more value if it comes with a PCIe slot and allows 1 or 2 2.5" ssds.
 
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Rock

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With bios updates locked behind a service contract, limited drive capacity, no real upgrade path for more Ethernet ports or higher nic speed, and no clear picture on the ability for a user to install an operating system, what is the attractive part of these boxes?
 
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Marsh

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It is a tough call between $140-$150 + shipping for this HP box or
$100-$120 shipped HP 800 G2 mini with I5-6500t.

Here is my math for the HP elitedesk 800 G2 mini.
CPU I5-6500T between $70 to $75
HP G2 mini barebone around $30 to $35
or
complete unit with I5 CPU for about $100-$120 ( may be it included 4-8gb ram )

Both boxes are without pcie slots.
HP mini have a m2 nvme slot and 1 2.5 SSD. I think it is a better configuration of storage.

This morning, a HP 800 G2 min with I5-6500T and 8GB ram sold for $130

I made 2 offer $130-$135 + shipping, both offer got rejected.
So the price is at least $140 + shipping.
 

zack$

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This system certainly has its shortcomings but at $150 it’s hard to find something comparable for the same amount. 6700t chips alone are near that price (sure better deals are out there).
At least with this you get registered ECC support and ilo.

The closest I have come to this in terms of budget has been the ASRock Xeon D-1541 board at ~$200...but that was just the board.
The ECC and ilo make this a "true enterprise nuc" that, IMHO and for the price of $150, is a better deal than the tiny/mini/micro parts. In some SMB environments, a 1 gig network is still plenty for simple file sharing, printing, browsing etc. I think this little box is aimed at those spaces.

With a link aggregation of the optional 4 x 1 gig ports to run file services, print server, AD and the 2 x 1 gig ports used for the gateway, this is pretty awesome.

If ran as a cluster set-up, the limitation of the 2 x HDD is easily overcome.

Also, the issue of the bios updates....well, subject to correction, I think this box is EoL. If it is, then there's really no point to the whole bios update fears.

My only issue is the very curious software licences tied as the optional parts together with Zynstra role in the whole thing.

If the licences are there to support the SMB space fine. If, however, the box is really tied down to those licences, like some then that would be the huge "gotcha" here.
 

Marsh

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HP ILO is not free, ILO license is another money pit. It could cost as much as half the HP unit

HP Elitedesk mini included vPro remote management.

I am still interest in this HP system , but do not want to deal with the HP licensing.
 
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zack$

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If @Dark could alleviate licensing concern when his box arrives, that would be great.

Since these appear to be second hand, fingers crossed that ilo license may already be activated....but that's less of an issue than the whole HP/Zynstra licensing fear, which would pretty much make these useless.
 
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Smedwardd

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I also bit as well. I'll keep you guys updated once it comes in on Monday.

Edit: HPE Documentation mentions the ability to select a Boot Device, as well as a UEFI shell. I'm quite optimistic :)
 
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WANg

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The ECC and ilo make this a "true enterprise nuc" that, IMHO and for the price of $150, is a better deal than the tiny/mini/micro parts. In some SMB environments, a 1 gig network is still plenty for simple file sharing, printing, browsing etc. I think this little box is aimed at those spaces.

With a link aggregation of the optional 4 x 1 gig ports to run file services, print server, AD and the 2 x 1 gig ports used for the gateway, this is pretty awesome.

If ran as a cluster set-up, the limitation of the 2 x HDD is easily overcome.

Also, the issue of the bios updates....well, subject to correction, I think this box is EoL. If it is, then there's really no point to the whole bios update fears.

My only issue is the very curious software licences tied as the optional parts together with Zynstra role in the whole thing.

If the licences are there to support the SMB space fine. If, however, the box is really tied down to those licences, like some then that would be the huge "gotcha" here.
Eh, "true enterprise NUC"? There are actual enterprise NUC out there like the Lenovo P320/330s and the Z2 Mini G3/G4 (they have workstation graphics with either PCIe or MXM slots, VPro/DASH and support for ECC RAM up to 64GB. I think my t740 thin client could, too (the Ryzen embedded supports ECC as well) - that being said, I don't want to pay 90 bucks for an 8GB DDR4 ECC SODIMM to test that one out.

Calling this machine a NUC is a little unfair to the NUCs - at least the NUCs have size on their side. Most can install an additional Ethernet port through their M.2 Key-E slot, some can support 2 drives (M.2 SATA+SATA, M.2 NVMe+M.2 NVMe, dual NVMe, etc etc), and others (like the Lenovo m720q) have useful PCIe breakouts.

Alright, let's do some math here. In order to make it justify the name "enterprise", I'll need to add 2 drives and 16, 32 or 64 GB of DDR4-2133 or 2400 RDIMM into it (you can use UDIMM, but only for up to 2x16GB configurations - about 5-10% cheaper if you do).

For 16GB, it's 2x8GB, which according to Newegg is ~50 USD/stick for RDIMM, so roughly 100 bucks

For 32GB, it's 2x16GB, which according to Newegg is ~65 USD/stick for RDIMM, around 130 in total. (Yes, you can do 16 in one stick but why run only a single memory channel). Value-wise this is the sweet-spot.

For 64GB, it's 2x32GB, which according to Newegg is ~135USD/stick for RDIMM, or 270.

Note that this assumes that you don't have compatible DDR4 server RAM lying around. If your work upgraded their servers and you have a bunch of 8GB DDR4 RAM units ready for recycling, that changes the metrics by a bit.

Let's say that the drive cable is not included and they are 20 each (they were quoted for 30 at a posting above), and so are the carriers. That's 80 USD.

So at a very minimum you'll need to spend 150+100+80 USD, or roughly 330 USD to get it working “by the books” for loading 2 drives. Let’s say you raided the corporate junk pool for 2 sticks of 8GB, and you are willing to zip tie the drives to the chassis somehow - the drive data cables (no indication it is included) will make it 190 USD, not 150. That’s almost the same price as a secondary market TinyMicroMini machine (or its bigger SFF cousin, which will have more RAM slots and PCIe slots), and they will almost always come with RAM, some basic SSD and a Windows license. So in that case about the best thing you can say about the EC200A is...more NICs? My intuition tells me that they could’ve built it smaller or packed more parts in there, but they chose not to...my guess is to keep the costs as low and make it as quiet as possible.

A brand new HP Microserver Gen10 Plus with a base 3 year depot warranty, a Xeon-D 2224, 16GB of RAM and 4 empty caddies ready for drives will...probably run around 600-620 on eBay, and Amazon seems to confirm this.

The MSG10+ is still not a great machine in my opinion, mind you, but it has several things going for it over the EC200A - 3 years warranty, 4 drive bays ready to go, a known Intel quadport NIC setup with SRIOV support ready for ESXi, a PCIe slot, and a current generation CPU. The fact that it’s 4 bays means you are pushing more I/O, and that PCIe slot is always welcome.

The question is...which would perform better and be more power efficient? 2 of those EC200As with 1518s clustered together, or a single MSG10+ running the e2224?
 
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