What to do with a free Proliant DL380G7

Fished this monster out of a dumpster a few years back at work and always knew I'd probably do something with it, heard they make great gaming PCs but it's so freaking loud I never even entertained that possibility.

it has 16x2.5" sata hdd bays, still has the iLO details and serial number card which I hear is uncommon for 2nd hand servers, hardware raid card because of the extra 8 bays and external scsi card.

my self hosting journy only started a few weeks back with a 2 bay synology nas and pi-hole (technically a few years with jellyfin on my main pc but you know ...) so simple suggestions, preferably 100% local because I'm behind a CGNAT without ipv6 and it looks like a lot of work to deal with.

and if anyone knows what software is used on the SD slot and internal usb key, if anything, that would be great :) I'm assuming license keys for software or something equally unimportant because I've installed Proxmox to mess around with and it didn't need them.


The problem with these older units is that we have come so far in terms of performance per watt that the cost of electricity quickly makes them irrelevant.

I used to run a cluster of Dell 710s that I was able to replace with a few M720q very cheaply off eBay and run the same workloads at less than 1/3 the power usage (even better at idle, since that really where these old units don’t do well).

I have seen a few converted into DAS or drawers for a rack, but you’d have to already have a rack for that to be useful or worthwhile.


The internal usb and SD card slot are just there in case you want to boot from usb or SD.

You can install your OS to them and then all of your HDDs can be used for storage instead of losing capacity to an OS partition.

Back in the day, we would look for the newest SmartStart CD to install from, but it’s no longer possible to get from official channels. Also they’re only useful for installing the supported operating systems.

The G7 knows the thermal profile of most HP hardware of it’s generation and runs the fans at the appropriate speed for proper cooling for known hardware, but sticking anything 3rd party (or just newer) in there will ramp it up to max cooling mode for thermal protection. It’s a pain.


Recycle it before you bankrupt yourself on electricity


I figure that's where it'll end up but it's just an opportunity to mess around with some enterprise level hardware.


There’s nothing special about it. It’s just a (old) computer. I always recommend homelabbers just use regular PCs. Rack form factor servers have a use case and your closet or basement ain’t it. I’ve racked, stacked, and managed enough HP hardware to know not to bring any home. The people telling you to recycle it are correct.

@peter@feddit.uk avatar

I’ve racked, stacked, and managed enough HP hardware to know not to bring any home

This is why you think there’s nothing special about it. Yes, it’s a bad idea to run it as a server 24/7, but if you want to poke at a server BIOS, or play around with iLO, see how redundant power supplies or hot swap drive bays interact then yes there is some knowledge worth gaining there.


Fair enough. I’ll admit there is some PTSD from spending way too long inside data centers which gives me some bias. :)

That said, once OP has fiddled with it I still recommend shutting that sucker off. The noise and power bill will both be too high!


It’s also likely to be an energy vampire as well. The DL380G7 was a good server in it’s hayday. From a reliability standpoint it still is. But the performance per amount of energy consumed is just not economical. That much said, you could save power draw by replacing the spinning disks with SSDs and make it better but the G7’s processor will be anemic by today’s measures.



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  • metaStatic,

    wouldn't know the first thing about figuring that out.

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