Running VMware vSphere ESXi 5.0 on the HP Proliant Microserver

HP Proliant Microserver & VMware vSphere 5Those of you that have bought an HP Proliant Microserver for your work or home VMware vSphere lab are probably wondering whether it will work with VMware vSphere 5.0?  Well, the good news is that it does and that even the installation  process goes through without a hitch both to local internal USB pen drive or local disk.  I have tested this with the final RTM version of vSphere ESXi 5.0, not just the beta builds, and can confirm that the CPU, storage controller, memory and network card are detected without a problem meaning that you’re all set to go for when VMware make available the VMware vSphere ESXi 5.0 download available sometime soon. 

With the free downloadable version of ESXi 5.0 the amount of physical memory accessible in the host has been reduced to 8GB so this combined with the fact that the HP Microserver can only take 8GB anyway won’t leave you feeling like you’ve wasted your money on adding extra memory.  Those of you, like myself, that also have an HP Proliant ML110 G6 with 16GB will either have to look at only using 8GB of it’s memory, keep installing the eval license on a regular basis (too much hassle) or purchasing an entry level vSphere license to allow me to access the full 16GB of memory in the server.  Either way, the new exciting features (see my post here for more details) found in VMware vSphere 5.0 is too much of a temptation to leave my vSphere lab servers at vSphere 4.1.


HP Proliant Microserver & VMware vSphere 5 - Summary

VMware vSphere and HP Proliant - CPU

HP Proliant and VMware vSphere 5 - Memory

HP Proliant Microserver & VMware vSphere 5 - Storage Adapters

HP Prolian Microserver & VMware vSphere 5 - Network Adapters


  1. @Schofieldchris says

    I bought one of these last week for my home lab (Great £100 cashback offer is still on!) I’m only using 4.1U1 currently so I was curious if Vsphere 5.0 would work well and as expected it does! thanks for testing it Simon.

    I think I’m going to buy another one of these today as software RAID inside a Vsphere isn’t going to cut it. Shame the onboard RAID controllers on these ‘home’ servers is never supported by Vsphere.

    • says

      Hi Chris,

      Glad you found the post of use. :)

      Good news indeed about ESXi 5 being able to run on it. I was on the beta for it so knew quite a while back though obviously had to keep quiet until the official annoncement.

      I agree, re: the onboard RAID, what you could look at doing is using your extra HP Microserver as a dedicated storage NAS and run something such as Openfiler, which can perform the RAID via it’s software (I’ve tried this and it works well) or you could add a cheap small form factor RAID controller card (that works with vSphere) and then use that with somelike the EMC VNX Uber VSA running as a VM.

      Have fun!


  2. @Schofieldchris says

    Funny you mention Openfiler Simon, I spent pretty much the whole weekend testing various flavours of Openfiler and FreeNAS to find the best fit for my requirements XBMC streaming for the wife and nipper & ISCSI + NFS mounts for Vsphere testing.

    Results show that there are some annoying bugs in 2.99 Openfiler which prevent the creation of Raid1 sets (Maybe corrected when fully patched up) so for my purposes I’ve gone with 2.3 for stability. Performance was good when using 1 drive but as soon as I started to use software RAID the performance nose died (as expected) so I think I need to click buy on a stand alone piece of hardware.


  3. jason404 says

    “…or you could add a cheap small form factor RAID controller card (that works with vSphere) and then use that…”

    I’ve been looking for one for months, but I have no idea what small form factor vSphere-compatible RAID card can be used in a Microserver.

    If anybody knows of one, please tell.

  4. Kenneth says

    Anybody have an opinion if the micro server is better as a esxi host or is it better to just put some drives in it and use it as a shared storage?

  5. Simon SeagraveB says

    Hi Kenneth,

    IMHO the HP Microserver is a pretty good lab solution for either an ESXi host or for a shared storage appliance (assume you’ll have to use software based RAID from the underlying OS as the onboard RAID controller isn’t a 100% hardware based RAID solution).

    – ESXi Host: For an ESXi host (with 8GB mem) assume that you’ll comfortably run about 5-6 average VMs.
    – Shared Storage Device: If using it for shared storage using OpenFiler or FreeNAS would probably be your best solution. Just add drives to all 4 disk bays to maximize your IOPS.

    Another option is to run ESXi on it (with the max. 8GB of memory) and run a virtual storage appliance (VSA) such as EMC’s VNX VSA (free to download and use). The only catch is that the underlying storage won’t be RAIDed though you could add extra drives and spread the VMs across single spindles and then just make sure you take backups.

    Hope this helps.




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