Feedback on the HPE ProLiant DL20 Gen9

Asked by Earl Wertheimer on 2018-03-14

The instructions work, but should come with the following warning:

If no PCI cards are installed and Ubuntu 16.04 installed as documented (B140i disabled), Fan #3 will continuously run abnormally fast.

At idle, the fans indicate 6% 6% and 41%. This generates an abnormal amount of noise.
You can see the temperatures and fan speeds using the iLO, Information, System Information, Fans and Temperatures are 2 tabs at the top of the screen.

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Ubuntu-Certification Edit question
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Solved by:
Jeff Lane
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Last reply:
Jeff Lane (bladernr) said : #1

Hi. Please see the following FAQ, this actually sounds like something that should be filed as a bug.
FAQ #2193: “XXXX is broken, I need to file a bug”.

Earl Wertheimer (earlwer) said : #2

How is this problem a "bug against an Ubuntu package"?

The fans are very loud. Someone checking the certification should be aware of the problem before purchasing the system.

The server is only 1U and is only 18" deep. Ideal as a single server in a small office rack with the other equipment.
In that setting, the noise could be a concern (unless they were forewarned).

If installed in a rack in a server room, the noise may not be an issue.

I think some kind of note should be added to the Certification Notes. Isn't that what the notes are for?

From what I have read, the HP BIOS depends on the RAID controller to control Fan #3. Disabling the controller means that the fan speed goes to a default setting.

The other concern is premature wear. If the fan is always running at 41%, instead of 6%, I would assume that it will wear out sooner.

FYI: I contacted HP about the problem and they sent a tech to change the motherboard. There was no change to the fan speeds.

Best Jeff Lane (bladernr) said : #3

If it's not a bug in Ubuntu, and from your further description it sounds like that is the case, then it's something HPE will have to deal with in their firmware and there's not much we can do about it. HPE tested the hardware in question, so I have to assume HPE is aware of any noise issues and feel comfortable with any issues that arise from that.

Unfortunately, there's not a lot to be done except to continue to take this up with HPE until there's an updated firmware or hardware fix for their system.

The OS Certification is exactly that. Validating that the OS works on the hardware, and in this case it does. We cannot test, at the OS level, whether or not Fan #3 is running at 100% without a RAID card vs 50% with a RAID card. That is something HPE has to verify and validate and if a mention is required, it should be listed in their user docs for people who purchase their hardware.

Also, it appears that HPE does address this themselves, (whether this actually fixes the issue or not, I can't say, but they DO indicate issues with fan speeds on the DL20 Gen9 server):

Earl Wertheimer (earlwer) said : #4

I agree that there is not much we can do about it.
That is precisely why I thought that a warning should put on the Certification page.

HP wants to sell servers. If a server is running badly but Ubuntu can still be installed, they don't have much incentive to expose the problem, especially when it depends on other optional components.

I read the Customer Advisory, thanks. In my case, none of the temp sensors exist, so the server fan is not controlled.

I know you have better things to do, but the Ubuntu HW Certification is for the benefit of Ubuntu users, not HP Sales.

If you cannot or will not add a note to the Certification Page, then at least this thread should hopefully help people who are considering the purchase of this server model in the future.

Keep in mind that I contacted HP Tech Support for this problem. They knew about the Customer Advisory, what equipment was installed and the temp readings, yet they still sent out a tech to change the motherboard, knowing that the service call was futile.

Last comment: The HP Customer Advisory says "Fan may Frequently Run at a High Speed". That should be "Fan may Continuously Run at a High Speed". I will post the suggestion on their page.