VeryPC GreenServer Janus II

VeryPC shows that two servers can fit in one chassis and convincingly demonstrates good power efficiency along the way.

Each board does have a 16x PCI-Express slot for a riser card but these have been nullified by the additional SIMSO+ remote management controllers included in the price. The cards fit in a mini-PCI slot and have a header card, which provides a backplate with dedicated network management ports. The cards incorporate a Raritan chipset, which delivers full KVM over IP and remote browser management facilities.

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The management web interface is a tidy affair that provides good levels of data about all motherboard sensors, which can be linked up to email alerts. Virtual boot devices are supported as are remote power controls and you also get full server remote control included as standard - a feature HP still only offers as an option on its iLO2 management solution. You can also access each management controller using Supermicro's IPMI View 2.0 utility, which offers up a dashboard of dials on temperatures, fan speeds and voltages, controls for recycling power and performing graceful server shutdowns and also remote control access as well.

There's more as each server can be locally or remotely monitored via the SuperO Doctor III utility, which provides plenty of operational information on all critical system components. Remote control options are more basic as you can only access the power settings, but this does enable you to access the server from another system, gracefully shutdown the OS and control power.

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The Janus II is looking good so far but no doubt the burning question is whether it delivers on its power promises. With it connected to our in-line power meter we saw the entire system drawing a modest 23W with both servers powered down. With one server fired up and Windows Server 2003 R2 idling along the meter registered 94W and with both servers pottering along this rose to 159W. We then ran SiSoft Sandra simultaneously on both servers and with this pummeling all sixteen cores to the max, consumption peaked at 312W.

Our test results were noticeably higher than those quoted by VeryPC but it's worth putting them into context. We ran the same tests on another Supermicro 1U rack server with a pair of L5320 Xeons, 4GB of FB-DIMM memory and eight SFF SATA hard disks and saw it draw 22W when powered off, 182W in idle and 250W under extreme load. A similarly equipped HP ProLiant DL360 G5 was also measured at 30W when powered off, 213W in idle and 310W under load. Both these figures are under the power draw for the Janus, but offer half the processing cores.

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The GreenServer Janus II is a unique rack server solution that offers some distinct advantages. On the downside the power supply is a single point of failure so a UPS is an essential buy and the 30GB capacity of the solid state disks won't go far, but getting two servers for little more than the price of one has got to be a good deal in anyone's book.

Verdict

The innovatively designed GreenServer Janus II offers two servers for close to the price of one. With only one power supply between two motherboards, obtaining external power redundancy will be an absolute must and the 30GB SSDs are of very limited value, but the GreenServer Janus II does deliver a good specification for the price and has a genuinely modest appetite for power.

Chassis: 1U rack

Motherboard: 2 x Supermicro X7DCT

CPU: 4 x 2.5GHz Xeon L5420

Memory: Per server - 4GB 667MHz DDR2 GB expandable to 48GB

Storage: 2 x 30GB OCZ Core Series V2 SSD drives

RAID: Embedded Intel ICH9R SB SATAII

Array support: RAID0, 1, 5, JBOD, hot-swap

Expansion: 2 x PCI-e 16X

Network: 4 x Gigabit Ethernet

Power: 1 x 780W cold swap supply

Management: 2 x Supermicro SIMSO+

Software: Supermicro IPMI View 2 and SuperO Doctor III

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