Review: HP ProLiant DL360 Flies Through Transactions

HP 9th-Gen Server

Hewlett-Packard has released one fast, little server. The company earlier this month unveiled its 9th-gen ProLiant servers, timed with the release of Haswell-EP, Intel's line of 22nm processors for two-socket servers and workstations code-named Grantley. For testing, HP sent the CRN Test Center the ProLiant DL360, a moderately configured 1U server that did not disappoint.

On the Inside

For HP resellers and service techs familiar with the company's 8th-gen servers, things will look pretty familiar inside the 9th-gen. There are still 24 DIMM slots and a maximum of 768 GB, but the new machines can handle DDR4 memory as fast as 2,133 MHz (compared with DDR3's 1,866). The new twin processor sockets max out with the Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 18-core CPUs Intel plans to ship in 2015 and can access as many as three PCIe 3.0 slots per CPU. Last year's model topped out Xeon E5-2600 v2-series 12-core processors and two slots. Fan placement varies slightly, and there's also an option for installing ambient-temperature fans that comply with current ASHRAE indoor air quality and cooling standards. The 1U ProLiant 360 and 2U 380 share the same motherboard.

All Cylinders

The tested unit had a pair of Xeon E5-2697 v3 processors, each with 14 cores (with two threads each) running at 2.6 GHz. That's a total of 56 threads, as illustrated here with Microsoft Task Manager. In this view, each individual CPU's workload is charted as the runs performance tests. The test system was loaded with 64 GB of 2,133 MHz DDR4 RAM and a pair of 15K SAS drives configured as a RAID 0 array. We used Geekbench 2.4.2 from Primate Labs, which recently was updated to handle Intel's latest processors and their additional cores. With the properties of the pre-installed Windows Server 2012 Standard Edition set for maximum performance, Geekbench measured a high score 34,336, good enough for 6th place on CRN's Top 10 Fastest Servers. From a performance perspective, the best news is yet to come.

Transaction Processing

For testing the DL360's throughput and transaction processing chops, testers installed the IOmeter on the server as well as a high-performance laptop. The server was configured to run the IOMeter Dynamo load generation utility and the laptop remotely controlled the workload. Workload was generated with one, five and 10 simulated clients performing a variety of read and write operations in sequence and at random.
The DL360 turned in its best transactional processing numbers when performing sequential read operations of 512-byte packets. In this test, it produced a sustained 1.89 million IOps, by far the best throughput we've ever seen in a microserver. This was observed with five workers. The same test with one worker delivered 545K IOps and with 10 workers 728K IOps. When 50 percent randomness was introduced, the best performance was with 10 clients, and measured 641K IOps. Clearly, the DL360 has a sweet spot of between five and 10 clients.


The Test Center defines throughput as the ability to move files around. Using the same text fixture and methodology as for transaction processing, testers simply switched to 32K-byte packets and repeated the tests. Interestingly, the DL360 performed better with random read/write operations than with sequential read-only operations. Peak throughput was 2,640 MBps, and was observed with 10 clients reading and writing 32K packets randomly half the time and sequentially half the time. Almost as fast was the single-client sequential read test, which delivered a sustained rate of 2,247 MBps.

Power Consumption

The reductions in power consumption brought about by Haswell processors is remarkable. At idle, the DL360 drew between 40 watts and 42 watts. During most benchmarks, it consumed between 69 watts and 89 watts and peaked occasionally at 146 watts. Power draw between the system's two hot-swap power supplies remained fairly even. When variations did occur, they were usually by two watts and never more than four watts. Also, cooler-running Haswell processors require less cooling than prior generations, which also saves energy and cuts down on noise.

Bottom Line

The ProLiant DL360 employs UEFI in the BIOS (with the option to revert to HP's legacy boot sequence) and supports USB 3.0 and hard drives larger than 3TB. There's also an optional embedded 4-port Gigabit Ethernet NIC. The versatile 2U DL380 can be populated with as many as 24 2.5-inch drives or 12 3.5-inch drives. Other chassis configurations leave room for front-accessible USB, VGA and an optical drive. There's also a model with a rear drive cage that reduces the PCI-slot option from six to three. List pricing of the DL360 starts at $2,799 with an Intel E5-2606 v3 six-core, six-thread processor.