HP MicroServer Gen8 Setup & Upgrade5 min read

After a long ordeal with Britan’s worst courier service (Yodel, for those of you unaware) I finally received most of my parts which is good enough to make a start, so here it all is;


What I’m missing here is this little guy,  that’s  needed to power the SSD’s in the system for the VM storage, the only spare power adapter the MS comes with is a spare floppy power, hence the adapter. The astute among you will notice that there are no HDD drives either, these are still on their way.
I proceeded to unpack what I have, the 8GB USB sticks are going to be used for the VmWare install, the memory is a set of 2x8GB ECC Kingston Value and the SSDs are 128GB SanDisk 6GBps drives.
(Not pictured is the E3-1220v2 that I bought later on, I have added the upgrade of this just below.)

First thing’s first, let’s upgrade the CPU on one of the machines. This is actually extremely easy and if you’ve ever worked with computers like I have you will be able to do this with your eyes closed and on one leg.
Remove the top of the MS with the two thumb screws at the back and proceed to remove the memory, and any cables plugged into the board, then all you have to do is press lightly on the tab at the back and the motherboard tray slides right out.

Photo 22-05-2015 6 19 55 pm


Unscrew the heatsink using either the supplied tool or your own HEX tool, I used my own because the one HP gives you is shit. Remove the CPU and add the new one in making sure to clean up all the old thermal paste with some isopropyl alcohol and reapply the thermal paste. Screw everything back, install all the cables and you’re good to go. Remember to put the old CPU somewhere safe, you never know when it might come in handy.

Photo 22-05-2015 6 21 36 pm Photo 22-05-2015 6 36 15 pm

Now that the hardware is upgraded it’s time to add everything else in; I started by plugging the USB into the onboard internal USB slot so once this is enclosed it cannot get disturbed and the port is never changed. Most USBs will fit here so you needn’t worry too much about how fat or tall it is, any normal sized drive will be just fine.

Next I plugged a SATA cable in the blue SATA port for the SSD and pulled it through the chassis through the cable holes right above it, there is ample space to leave any excess cable in the space next to the PSU. (I know the USB isn’t pictured here, I was doing these steps on both servers at the same time but not in the same order so just bear with me.)

I put the SSD for the VM storage in the ODD slot, it’s an okay fit and not perfect but I’m not worried, SSDs can be placed anywhere so as long as it doesn’t fall out (it won’t) I’m happy. You can see the white floppy power in the following picture, this is where I will use the power adaptor to change this into power for the SSD.

Always remember to leave stuff where you won’t lose it, I gave my speaker a hat.

Next I put my memory in. I paid about £120 for the 2x8GB set and didn’t fancy paying much more for memory so I opted to put one of the sticks in each of the MS and one 2GB ECC stick in the other slot. This gives me 10GB usable in both systems which I think do for this scenario. In the future I can add more.

Photo 21-05-2015 7 33 02 pm

Plug in some networking and peripherals,  I have this 8 port managed switch on my desk that has an uplink from my rack with all my VLANs for this kind of stuff, I plugged in one cable for networking in the LAN1 slot and one cable for the iLO in the iLO slot. Both are on VLAN1 for the moment, this isn’t an issue. Plug a monitor and a keyboard in also.

I wanted to ensure that the SSD drives were working and showing up in to the MS so I got out my trusty mains to molex/sata power adapter, this is temporary but allows me to use the SSD in VmWare until the power adapters arrive.

Now all that is out of the way it’s time to power her up. The first thing I did was to go into the iLO settings (F8) and change the username and password, this is so that I no longer have to rely on the keyboard and mouse and can continue to configure the system from anywhere. I also went into the BIOS and made sure everything was good there, changed the servername and iLO name ect.

IMG_1698.JPG              IMG_1699
 don’t know why I blurred so much. Boredom.

Next step that I took was reboot the server and go into the ‘F10’ menu which is HPs “intelligent provisioning.” When that loads go through he basic settings then go to “Preform Maintenance” followed by the firmware upgrade. Let the system go through downloading the latest firmware for all the devices and then install them all. This is highly recommended as it can relieve you of any problems you may have, and who doesn’t like to keep up to date?

Once I’d done that for both of them I disconnected the monitor and keyboard and kept them both connected to power and to the network. Everything now will be done via iLO. The only other things to do are to add the HDDs which I will cover in the “configuring storage” section and add the floppy>sata power which is pretty basic stuff.

So on we go!


14 thoughts on “HP MicroServer Gen8 Setup & Upgrade5 min read

  1. I noticed a local business was selling a few of these systems which was taken from businesses and the prices for the spec looked very good so I ended up picking one up for around £260.

    I was planning to use it as a replacement for N36L which was running WHS11

    This Gen 8 model appears more complicated then that old model I thought I could just book up Server 2019 and install it from usb drive but it doesn’t appear it works like that if some one could direct me to a guide i would really appreciate it.

    Here is the details of my system

    Gen 8 HP Microserver.
    Xeon E3 1220L
    8GB Ram two 4GB sticks
    120GB SSD with drive bay adapter
    4TB SAS drives Four of these 16GB
    SAS card with battery add on

  2. Please am Francis from Ghana Africa..i have Microwave Proliant Gen8 finding it difficult to use because i bought it from third party, seriously if you can help me with a link to an iso to download to format it please gor 3 month have researched and still cant use it please if you can help me with server 2012r which will be compactible with it please am begging you. when ever i try installing windows on it it tells me driver not found. and also i once installed linux and it worked but cant see all my array disks please help me.

  3. Hey, thanks for the details. Very helpful. Do you know where you can get the SPP files? I assume it’s ‘Service Pack for ProLiant (SPP) Version Gen8.1’

    I’ve tried HP and they need you to register, but when you try it says that entitlements are inactive.

  4. If anyone cares, I just bought an HP iLO advanced license that works on ebay for $16! Makes life a little easier, although the application of updates and firmware is a TOTAL mystery still!!

    • You need to find the last SPP and boot that, you can have the SPP auto upgrade everything.

      SPPs have all the updates for HP machines bundled in one place, however, as servers age they can get dropped off, in which case you need to find the last SPP that your server was supported in and get your final upgrades.

      I think the G8s have stopped receiving updates now, although I can’t quite remember. So find the SPP you need and boot it.

    • The Microserver will accept E3-1200v2 processors on the high end of things, which makes the most powerful compatible proc the E3-1290 v2.

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