Dell PowerEdge / Server 2019 Compatibility

zito2000 used Ask the Experts™
I have a Dell PowerEdge R810 server and I would like to install Server Standard 2019 on it.  Dell says it doesn't support it, but I guess my question is, will it definitely NOT work?  I have to get rid of Server 2008R2 because of the EOL and I want to go with Server 2019 ideally.
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Technology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013
It's a question of drivers. And what you want to do with it.  Hyper-V, for example, has some requirements that the 810's CPU may not provide.  Additionally, there may not be drivers for important components like networking or the RAID controller... it's even possible there won't be video drivers.  Bottom line, you can try it, but it may not work (you should be buying a volume license version which can be changed between hardware.  You can also test using trial versions of Windows Server 2019.

Further, you SHOULD be virtualizing.  There's RARELY good reason to install direct to hardware.  Consider this - install into a VM today and then in a year or two you can EASILY move the VM to new hardware.

Also keep in mind, that an 810 is likely quite old, including it's drives.  Continuing to use aging drives is ASKING for trouble - drives have moving parts (as do power supplies and system/cpu fans).  Moving parts will fail.  And if your business is going to depend on the server, you NEED reliable hardware, not hopes and prayers.
kevinhsiehNetwork Engineer
I agree with above. That's a really old server. Running potentially four processors, it is going to cost a lot to run for electricity. I don't know what the core count is, but Microsoft requires that you purchase licensing  for all physical cores, with a minimum of 8 cores purchased per socket, and at least 16 cores total. Say you have four quad core processors. You would have 4 x 4 = 16 total physical cores, but Microsoft would require that you license 4 x 8 = 32 cores. That extra licensing expense would be better put to use towards newer hardware.

If it was a R610 or 710, you could possibly put a hypervisor on it and then load Windows 2016 or 2019 as a VM.

Or buy newer hardware, put on a hypervisor and then load Windows 2016/2019 as a VM.

Don't forget that you might need to upgrade your CALs.
I would be very surprised if this server failed to run Server 2019 just fine. I would suggest upgrading the BIOS first though.

Having said that, I agree that this server has probably had its day, and should be replaced. It was superseded back in 2012.

The R810 does officially support Server 2012, which would give you a few more years.

That basically gives you 4 viable options:
1.  Server 2019 on the 810, it will probably work, but is unsupported.
2.  Install Server 2012 on the 810, this is supported, but Server 2012 goes EOL in early 2023.
3.  Purchase a new server with Server 2019 included.
4.  Grab something a bit newer on Ebay, that supports Server 2019. Below is a Dell R730 with 128Gb RAM, 32Tb raw disk space, and a pair of 10core CPUs for $2500, that might be a reasonable fit.
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I've worked around this (older hardware, newer Server OS) before.  You can purchase Server 2019 (I agree with the recommendation to use volume licensing), install the latest Server version that will work on the hardware, then set up your Server 2019 as VMs.

It depends a lot on what version of Server you CAN install on the hardware.

As mentioned above, be careful to check proper licensing on the Server software.

If you can set up Server 2019 VMs on this and you purchase the software as a volume license, you have great flexibility if/when you decide to replace the hardware.  It's an easy task to move the VMs over.
zito2000Network Manager


Thanks everyone.  The server was only purchased 3 years ago, so it's not crazy old.  It's also spec'ed out great (Xeon processors and 128GB of RAM).  But I see all of your points, drivers and whatnot.
I already purchased volume licenses, so I'm covered to install 2019, 2016, or 2012R2.  2012R2 IS supported.  So I might "give it a shot" and install 2019. If it's missing anything, I might just kick it down to 2012R2 and install 2016 VM's.  
2012EOL is still another 4 years away.  At that time, I can push for a new server.

Any thoughts about taking this approach?

Thanks again everyone!!
It appears that Dell has drivers for 2018R2.  That would be the "safe" approach.

If you have time and interest, I'd give a shot at 2019.  If you can't sort through all the drivers, then start over with 2012R2.  I think you're on the right track.
zito2000Network Manager


Server 2018R2?  

Or server 2012R2?
My error... 2012R2.
zito2000Network Manager


Gotcha.  Ok great, I'm going to try what you said.
Try 2019, if no-go, then I'll install the support 2012 R2.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013

If Windows recognizes all the hardware properly, I wouldn't worry.  HOWEVER - and to repeat - VIRTUALIZE!  While YOU may have bought it 3 years ago the R810 was first released (and reviewed) nearly 10 years ago.  That is OLD - VERY OLD - in tech years.  Make sure your drives are newer than that.  As are your power supplies and fans.  

If you use VMWare it may be easier to virtualize and move it to new hardware.  Not sure how 2019 will work as a VM under Hyper-V 2012 or 2008 R2.  And I have doubts that 2019 will allow hyper-V to be installed on a system that technologically ancient.

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