Gigabyte H242-Z11 Edge Server ReviewJuly 28, 2023
The 2U Gigabyte H242-Z11 edge server is designed for locations that require a short chassis length and are typically under 500mm in depth (SHOP HERE). This one does fit the bill with a chassis depth of only 475mm. It features 4x front-accessible single-socket server nodes, each of which supports either a single 2nd or 3rd generation AMD EPYC CPU with up to 64 cores.
With support for 3rd generation AMD EPYC CPUs each node can support up to 2TB for up to 8TB total in the whole 2U chassis. In addition to edge computing offering real-time monitoring of IoT devices, Live UHD video streaming and support for autonomous vehicles, this platform can also be used as a hyper-converged server for standard compute, storage, networking or virtualization—plus use as a hybrid private cloud server. Basically, everything you might need to do with a server.
The single-socket Gigabyte H242-Z11 server nodes are accessible from the front of the chassis and feature 2x USB 3.0 ports. A mezzanine card slot for an optional open compute project, OCP 2.0 card, ID LED, old School VGA port 2Gb Ethernet LAN ports for network connectivity, then an mLAN port for management of the system and a single PCIe card slot. To the right of the four server nodes are 4x 2.5-inch NVMe U.2 drive bays with one of those drive bays mapping to each of the 4x server nodes. By the way, all of the bays are compatible with SATA drive types but SAS is not supported.
RAID is also not applicable in this case as there is only the single drive for each node. Just to the right of the storage bays is a control panel.
The control panel has stacked tell-tale lights for all 4x server nodes. It shows a system status LED, a reset button, power button with LED, and an ID button beside that. This is repeated for each of the nodes. At the bottom of the control panel is an enclosure CMC reset button.
With 4x nodes, the chassis provides the cooling, power, storage, and overall management through a CMC connection. That last is optional as you can just use the RJ45 management LAN port on each of the 4x server nodes or the CMC Lan port option for managing all of the units at once.
Next, 3x gigantor 80mm fans, and then PSUs 1 and PSU 2. PSU choices include 1000W and 1200W 80 PLUS Platinum options, and will provide redundancy in the event of a power failure.
Those CMC ports access the Central Management Controller chip which in turn accesses the ASPEED baseboard Management Controller in each of the server nodes. It offers multi-node management plus KVM support through a single connection instead of through the mLAN port on each server nodes. With dual CMC mLAN ports, the systems can be daisy-chained together in a ring connection to manage all server in the rack with only two top of rack switches and only two ports from those switches. If using the mLAN ports in each server node it will start looking like an industrial spaghetti noodle dispenser. Using the CMC connection, even with one link in the chain disabled or shut down the ring is still continuous offering better efficiency—plus it saves money.
Alternatively, there is the option for Gigabyte’s other management tools, Gigabyte management Console for a single server or small server cluster, or you can use the Gigabyte Server manager or GSM for managing clusters of servers simultaneously over the Internet. GSM also has a bunch of other management tools, and there’s also a mobile app called GSM Mobile for use with a smartphone or tablet.
Removing one of the nodes from the Gigabyte H242-Z11 chassis you can see the single CPU socket with 8x memory module slots to either side. PCIe slots are arranged at the front for ease of access in Edge locations that may not have a dedicated server room or much room at all. The first generation on this system or rev.100 supported second generation AMD EPYCs code name ROME. Rev.A00 enables 3rd generation AMD EPYC CPUs, code name MILAN.
Only a firmware update on the system elevates the supported processor from ROME to MILAN. Supported CPUs with a configurable thermal design power rating of up to 240W can be installed. There’s conditional support for 280W CPUs but even at the configurable TDP of 240W the system can support CPUs with 8x to 64x cores and 16 to 128 threads. Both CPU generations provide 8-channel memory architecture. Since there are only 8 memory slots per node, each memory module will have a memory channel all to itself for maximum throughput.
Using Load Reduced or Registered memory modules each node will support up to 1TB of memory (128GB x 8 = 1,024GB). 3DS versions of those modules will provide twice the memory capacity at up to 2TB using 256GB memory modules in all slots. With the 3rd gen processors memory speeds of up to 3200MHz are also supported. 2nd gen ROME CPUs will top out at memory speeds of 2933MHz.
At the front of the node there are 2x PCIe x16 slots with one Gen 4 and the other Gen 3 but both feature a x16 bus link. The OCP slot also supports x16 bandwidth with a PCIe 3.0 interface. Two x4 PCIe gen 3.0 slots on the system board can be outfitted with an M.2 drives that can be used to boot the system. These M.2 drives can also be outfitted with optional heatsinks to reduce heat buildup. An optional M.2 extension card (9CMTP051NR-00) can also be installed for more super fast storage.
If the OCP mezzanine card is not enough, you can always add a high-performance network controller like a Mellanox card offering up to 200Gb/s per port.
For edge applications, the 2U Gigabyte H242-Z11 Edge Server can easily support your standard business needs and offers some high-performance features for on-site processing of data for IoT applications or your very own hybrid cloud server! As a small cluster of servers, it provides 4x CPU processing power and up to 8TB of memory with NVMe storage and super fast M.2s for OS support. Not to mention a centralized management option through the Central Management Controller. If you are looking for a capable Edge server from Gigabyte, IT Creations has you covered. If you just need a part to get your network up and running, then check out our website!