Compact server brings data centre processing to the battlefield

Rugged, small form factor server systems from General Micro Systems are based on the Intel Xeon D processor. This, says the company, puts data centre processing performance on the battlefield, without the rack.

The ‘server room in a box’ processor family is designed to provide the rugged-server, low-cost switch, and low-cost router computer system for defence and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) markets as well as mining and industrial applications.

The first product in the family is the SB2002-SW Blackhawk, rugged switch/router, which packs up to 16 CPU cores, 20 managed/Ethernet ports, 64Gbyte RAM, removable storage, embedded services router software from Cisco, and high-level security into a 7lb box that operates as low as 75W. Future versions will include multiprocessors, image processing and extended storage, says the company.

The server combines the Intel Xeon D server-class performance with a low-cost managed switch and a selection of I/O, in a system, measuring 5.4 x 6.5 x 2.75inch, for vehicle-mounted battlefield tactical operations centres that have multiple on-board LANs, displays, virtual machines, and red/black storage. A single rugged Blackhawk can meet the server needs for multiple operators and easily fit under a vehicle’s seat, says the company.

Customisation options also make it suitable for industrial systems and applications such as energy exploration. For example, it can enhance well-head control and real-time image processing without requiring data to be captured and transported elsewhere for processing and analysis.

Hyper-threading is supported for up to 16 logical cores (32 threads) in a single SoC device and 12 cores in the extended temperature version. Each core operates at up to 2.5GHz and can turbo boost up to 3.1GHz.  The processor boasts two-channel memory, up to 64Gbyte total, 24 lanes of PCI Express Gen 3, and six SATA3 controllers.

The multi-tier modular design has a processor tier and an I/O tier, onto which additional processors and I/O modules can be added. Storage, accessories, and legacy interfaces can be incorporated.

Switch functions are controlled by a 416MHz MIPS co-processor with 128Mbyte of DRAM that controls up to 16Gbit/s Ethernet ports and four 10Gbit/s Ethernet ports, two of which are connected directly to the host CPU. An optional routing engine adds a Cisco/Palo Alto embedded services router. Additional I/O functions include USB 2.0, USB 3.0, and two add-in Special Application Modules I/O sites for custom I/O such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, Quad Video Capture, CANbus, MIL-STD-1553 and ARINC-429.

The server is also claimed to support the industry’s most secure storage subsystem with up to 16Mbyte of BIOS Flash with hardware-write protect and a fixed on-board mSATA boot device up to 1Tbyte with optional hardware write-protect, secure-erase, and encryption functions. It supports one enterprise-class x4 PCIe SSD with up to 2.4Gbyte/s read and 1.2Gbyte/s write speeds or up to four 2.5inch SSD drives with hardware write-protect, secure-erase, and encryption functions. It can also support FIPS-140-2 and FIPS-197 encryption standards for secure data storage, along with the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) and the Trusted Execution Technology (TXT).


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