Installing Windows Server 2012 on HP DL360p Gen8

I’ve been working with HP ProLiant line of servers for over 6 years, and across 8 generations of 100 and 300 series from DL145 G1 to DL360p Gen8. These have been fine machines since G6 was introduced.

My own co-located servers (in the “cloud”, to use the trendy terminology) are DL360 G7s. Today I installed my first Windows Server 2012 hypervisor on DL360p Gen8 platform. Gen8 offers a few nice features that G7s don’t have:

  • 8-core processor support (max 16 non-hyperthreaded cores in 1U!)
  • PCIE generation 3 bus
  • 8.0 GT/s QPI (faster CPU front side bus)
  • DDR3-1600 memory support (faster RAM clock)
  • Drive cage can be upgraded from 4 bays to 8 or 10 bays (10 drives in 1U!)
  • RAM banks were re-engineered from 18 slots to 24, from 3 channels per CPU to 4
  • Total RAM supported is still 768 GB (in 1U!)
  • On-board RAID controller supports 6G SAS as well as 6G SATA now

For a side-by side comparison see G7 specs and Gen8 specs at hp.com.

Unfortunately, all 4 USB ports are still at 2.0 so for small businesses running disk-to-disk backups using external drives this is going to be a drag (a USB 3.0 PCIE card will need to be installed, or 10 Gbps iSCSI TOE card will need to be deployed along with some entry-level iSCSI storage) but this platform cannot be more perfect for virtualization clusters running Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V 3.0.

In theory this server packs up to 10 TB of storage, 16 cores, and 768 GB RAM into 1U of rack space.

Building Windows Server 2012 boxes is a no-brainer – the process overall is almost exactly the same as in Windows Server 2008 R2. The biggest challenge might be finding a USB DVD drive if your Gen8 did not come with a DVD drive of its own.

Once the hypervisor OSE is up, drop into PowerShell and:

Install-WindowsFeature Hyper-V,RSAT-Hyper-V-Tools
Shutdown -r -t 0

That’s it. Now don’t forget to re-run Windows Update, and enjoy Hyper-V 3.0 goodness.

I put up a sample server build document for this scenario on the downloads page.

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