Taming Fan Noise on HPE Gen11 Servers and Third-Party NVMe Drives

I recently got a HPE ProLiant ML110 Gen11. While it cost far more than the previous generation thanks to COVID-19, the trade war, and supply chain issues, it is still an excellent server.

One thing with HPE servers is that by default, if you use a third-party NVMe drive, or any PCI Express card that isn’t blessed by HPE, the fan becomes very loud. By very loud, I mean I can hear it from a shut closet. I even had some family come over and complain how loud it is.

To add to the fire, I’m planning to move back to NYC from Seattle (no timeframe however) and while NYC is noisy, I don’t want to hear buzzing noise when I sleep especially in a small apartment.

To make the server quiet with a third-party NVMe drive, you can use this cURL command on the iLO “Redfish” API:

curl --request PATCH --url 'https://[ILO_IP]/redfish/v1/Chassis/1/Thermal/' --user '[ILO_USER]' --header 'content-type: application/json' --insecure --data '{"Oem": {"Hpe": {"FanPercentAdjust": 50}}}'

Replace ILO_IP with the iLO IP address and ILO_USER with the iLO Administrator (usually Administrator but for me I add a neel account).

You can also replace the 50 with a higher or lower value to make it louder or quieter respectively, but don’t go so quiet to make your server overheat. HPE Redfish works a bit differently than what us humans are used to. Setting the number to 50 would make the server with 50% less fan noise, while 25 would mean normal fan noise (the default) and 0 means 50% more fan noise.

After that, the server is pretty quiet, whether the closet is open or shut.

Credit: @Itzikbenabu from the HPE forums.

What about HPE amsd?

While a common solution is HPE’s amsd, that didn’t work for me with NVMe drives. It is more for SATA and SAS drives.

iLO also couldn’t see the Rocky Linux version of amsd, but the RHEL version was seen by iLO fine even on Rocky. Even when iLO sees amsd, the server was still noisy before I ran the above Redfish command.