Review

Review: HP PS1810-8G managed switch for use with Gen8 MicroServer

As you may be aware, HP has partnered with Neowin to give away a ProLiant MicroServer Gen8 to one of our lucky readers. The package will also include the PS1810-8G managed switch, so we decided to write a review of that while we continue to evaluate the server. Details on the giveaway will be coming next week, but we're also partnering with other sites to promote their giveaways as well so details on that are below.

It's no surprise that HP is hitting the small to medium business (SMB) segment hard with their latest product offerings. Based on the company's analysis, a whopping 5.1 million small businesses are expected to purchase their first server in the next five years. These companies aren't looking for massive "Big Data" machines that can run Hadoop and crunch numbers; instead, they have modest needs like a centralized file and print server or a machine used to collaborate with a small workforce. While we've briefly looked at the latest Gen8 MicroServer (and will provide more detail in the near future), one piece of equipment that people generally take for granted is the network switch. HP's looking to up the game by offering a reasonably priced managed switch that works hand-in-hand with the latest MicroServer and we think they have a winner on their hands.

Performance of the switch is on par with what you'd expect from a gigabit switch; if you just want a dumb box that pushes packets, then you can save a a chunk of money by looking at an unmanaged 8-port switch. The power of the PS1810-8G is that it was designed from the ground up to be an extention of the ProLiant MicroServer Gen8 and is a high quality fanless managed switch. The device can sit either on top of or underneath the server, and you can actually put it underneath a stack of two MicroServers if you choose. In addition to the physical design, the software on the switch was also designed with the server in mind with several features that work hand-in-hand with the box.

Logging into the switch via a web browser provides a fairly minimal interface but it's packed with features that you may not expect in a $150 device. For example, the PS1810-8G supports trunking, which allows users to merge multiple ports together to increase both bandwidth and reliability. Trunk together ports 1 and 2 on the switch, then use the dual ethernet ports on your machine, and you'll have 2Gb/s throughput to the network in addition to being able to survive the loss of a NIC, cable, or switchport without any outage.

Another exciting feature of this managed switch is that layer 2 VLANs are configurable, making it easy to create separate LANs on the device. While not especially useful for normal home use, the ability to segregate portions of the network in an SMB can be very powerful from both a security as well as a logistical perspective. For example, if setting up virtual hypervisors, such as VMware's ESXi or Microsoft's Hyper-V, one could create a separate VLAN for server migrations (ie: VMotion) so that network traffic won't traverse the main network.

One of the nicest integration features of this managed switch is the fact that it can detect any ProLiant servers that are connected to it. From the interface, it gives not only a light telling you the status of the box, but it also displays the iLO IP address, allowing you to simply click the link to login directly to HP's server management tool.

The PS1810-8G tries to be energy efficient as well, touting many "green" options, although we're skeptical to how useful they really are in reducing your power consumption. For example, one of the settings in the "Green Features" section of the configuration allows you to set the LED intensity of the ports. While the feature works in that selecting a "low" intensity does indeed reduce the brightness of the LED lights, how much electricity will that really save over the course of a year?

There are several other features that we didn't have the resources to test during this review but based on the other features, we're sure they work well. One feature, port mirroring, will allow you to connect a packet sniffer on the network and be able to see everything that's going into and out of a specific port. We're skeptical of how useful this is for the SMB market, but it's a welcome feature nonetheless. The switch also has settings for spanning tree, denial of service protection that does packet inspection, powering the switch via Power over Ethernet on the first switchport, and Link Layer Discovery Protocol (LLDP) to help identify devices on the network.

Although overall the switch is top notch, there are a few minor issues we found. The first is that the switch comes out of the box without a password. Simply point your web browser to the DHCP-assigned address, click the "login" button, and you're done. For something that's designed for the SMB market, we would've expected HP to focus on security and at least force the administrator to set a password upon first login.

In addition, there's no easy way to know what the IP address of the switch is going to be. While we understand the concept of DHCP, it would have been nice to see a tool that can scan the network and find the IP address for you, similar to how the Synology devices work with their "Synology Assistant."

Lastly, we couldn't find a way to actually set the date and time, instead having to point the switch to an NTP source. To top it off, we couldn't even provide the DNS name for a time server, but instead had to input a single IP address, which seems a bit weak.

Overall these are minor quibbles that don't detract from the overall experience of the PS1810-8G. That said, would it hurt to have a better name for the devices?

HP also has a 24 port version of the switch available, aptly named the PS1810-24G, that retails for around $300 but has a different form factor that won't sit on top of the server.

One last update for those who have been waiting patiently for our giveaway: Keep your eyes peeled for contest details sometime next week. In the meantime, our friends over at Geekzone are giving away the MicroServer Gen8 and the PS1810 managed switch, so head over there and enter to win and maybe you'll be lucky and win two servers!

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Nokia brings RAW DNG image format to the 1020 and 1520 Lumias

Next Story

Microsoft: We are working hard 'to finalize the last of the bugs' on Xbox One

56 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

I would want a Microserver to be able to finally have a low power server that I could keep on 24/7 to hold all of my media as I only have a 1tb in my desktop that is not backed up at all, The design reminds me of a epic looking gaming pc such as a corsair 550d. The DEATHSTAR would be easily controlled by this as it has 2 gigabit uplinks with expandability up to 8. I really could benefit from using this server and I would love to be able to have one, but money is tight anymore. Thanks again Neowin!

monopocalypse said,
Mate if you haven't got any backups, not having a home server is the last of your problems!
well that's what happens when you don't got stuff like others, still grateful for what I got though

I don't think I would need all those ports for home use, but it would be nice to have it together with the microserver anyway!

Would be ideal for a home network this switch. Shame about the people with social networking accounts getting an advantage on entries though.

This looks like it would be sufficient for most of my home server needs, but I wonder if I'd find myself wanting more being that I work on high end enterprise servers all day. A home server is one of those things that I've never built because every time I try to I want more than I want to spend. I like the microserver idea though, it brings a few of the features of a more expensive server into a smaller and more affordable package.

Looks like an updated version of their older managed switches, which are still awesome. Good to know they are now fanless and energy efficient!

The stackable switch is a great addition / design. Could run pfSense / FreeNAS in VM's on this. - Would make for a great home back up solution.

Hello,

Most managed network equipment nowadays come with more and more none static IP that just get it from DHCP server. Odd but hey.....

Also sucks that it doesnt have a console

I think this is aimed at the home owners and small business who don't really know what a console is, apart from a gaming device

this is just a 1810 - 24/48g trimmed down but the same problems that those bigger switches have are still present in this one: the NTP part is very dull, don't know why it can't use a URL instead of IP and the default IP: the big brothers of this switch do have a default IP, that is 192.168.0.2 (when i installed several of them in the past none of them had this info, i had to google it and contact HP support to know this info; i dunno why they did that); once there you can change to manual or DHCP; don't know if this one in particular receives IP via DHCP by default or it has an default IP like his brothers have.

Also this doesn't have CLI? that sucks, but then again this is for a small / medium small organization that has more budget constraints, more simple configurations and less IT staff to run the show, so it's more than acceptable.

I would expect the switch and the server both to generate an APIPA address so they could communicate, or at least set the switch to a known ip in the 192.168.x.x range.
On the time server question, you really don't want to set time manually on a switch, especially a managed one that could operate as authoritative time for your network, so I heartily dissent with you on that point.
What I do wish is that HP would bring out a 16-port version in the server form factor, as I've had to resort to a Cisco/Linksys model in my own home network, but it's unmanaged.
I have some serious questions about the RAID capability of the server as well, as I currently use a WD Sentinel with 4x 4TB drives in RAID5. Having two distinct RAID1 sets may seem like a good idea for SMB, but it's a huge waste of disk space. And why one at 3.0Gbps and the other 6.0Gbps? The first thing I would want to do is see if you could slap a better hardware RAID card in it.
HP's made a lot of good design decisions, but they've mad a few questionable ones as well. I'm looking real hard at buying a Gen8, but I'm afraid of being disappointed. The DX4000 is miles ahead of the Seagate BA440 I retired, but the Atom chip is under-powered and lacks RAM capacity.
What I really want is the same basic form factor, but with 6 drives in RAID5 with a hot spare, and an internal 2.5" bay for an SSD to boot from. The optical drive is not necessary, but is a handy feature if it's a BD. WD has gone too far in one direction with their new DS series, way over-powered and way over-priced.

Re: NTP - You bring up a good point, I'll have to check to see if the switch can be an internal time server or not. If it can, that's pretty cool. If not, then I still think requiring NTP is a bit lame, although not as bad as requiring a single IP address. Usually NTP is handled via DNS round robin.

TPreston said,
For $150 you could pick up a 48 port managed gig Cisco switch, hard to compete with previous gen enterprise gear

Link? I'd be tempted to buy one.

I was just gonna ask if there are alternative and cheap managed switch so thanks for the post! I still won't mind using this switch though.

Partnered to give one away, but the article of the giveaway is saying to comment there... but commenting is disabled....

So your not actually giving one away anymore, but have run a giveaway?

Make your minds up guys >.<

psyk0path said,
Partnered to give one away, but the article of the giveaway is saying to comment there... but commenting is disabled....

So your not actually giving one away anymore, but have run a giveaway?

Make your minds up guys >.<


Did you read the whole article? Specifically this part:
One last update for those who have been waiting patiently for our giveaway: Keep your eyes peeled for contest details sometime next week. In the meantime, our friends over at Geekzone are giving away the MicroServer Gen8 and the PS1810 managed switch, so head over there and enter to win and maybe you'll be lucky and win two servers!

offroadaaron said,
Is there console access to this?

There is not -- the only way to connect is via the network, and you have to guess what the IP address is which is a little annoying (until you hardcode an IP address, anyway). If you don't connect it to a network, it comes up with a default IP address so you can sort of console in that way, but not really.

Can you not trace the ip address somehour or route print whatever? would like to know that since I have a couple of switches in a network here I would like to know the IP addresses

I use AngryIP Scanner. Free download that can scan an entire range (I have it set to launch 256 threads at once so I can scan a full /24 in about 10 seconds) and can also check for specific ports (like 80 or 443) and if they are available it colors them differently.

I usually run a scan, sort on ping to find all the addresses that were offline then I hook up the device and rescan the offline addresses to see which ones became live, usually lets me find and connect to the device in under a minute.

shial said,
I use AngryIP Scanner. Free download that can scan an entire range (I have it set to launch 256 threads at once so I can scan a full /24 in about 10 seconds) and can also check for specific ports (like 80 or 443) and if they are available it colors them differently.

I usually run a scan, sort on ping to find all the addresses that were offline then I hook up the device and rescan the offline addresses to see which ones became live, usually lets me find and connect to the device in under a minute.


I use nmap - a command line tool on UNIX/Linux - that sounds like it does the same type of thing.

could you use wireshark as well? that would already be installed on a server that just was found being on the serverrack unused for 3 years

Fezmid said,

I use nmap - a command line tool on UNIX/Linux - that sounds like it does the same type of thing.

Fing for Android if your phone is connected to the same network works very well too