Enterprise-class mobile battlefield data centre is in rugged and compact chassis     

Based on the Intel Xeon E5 server CPU, the S402-LC/SW is General Micro Systems’ sealed, low-cost, small, rugged conduction-cooled family of servers. The series is designed for harsh military/defence/aerospace environments as well as industrial and commercial platforms.

According to General Micro Systems (GMS), the efficient engineering design yields the highest performance with the greatest efficiencies in size, weight, and power (SWaP) in a small, cost-effective, conduction-cooled system.

The S402-LC/SW is a self-contained system, comprising a server, optional router and multi-port switch plus network attached storage (NAS) that provides high performance and reliability in a ruggedised, conduction-cooled system that is about the size of a 12-inch laptop, says GMS.

The integrated server system is the result of more than 40 years of GMS electro-mechanical engineering. It consolidates multiple, separate system functions onto a single internal computer board, yielding a single-chassis, multi-functional server system at a price point that is unheard of for deployable, rugged defence systems, claims GMSs. The S402-LC/SW server system is claimed to be the smallest rugged enterprise-class server ever deployed.

Developed for the low-cost and reduced-size needs of the US Army’s Product Manager Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle Systems (PdM MRAP VS) and with the Army’s Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate (NVESD), the S402-LC/SW is a compact, standalone or networked mobile battlefield data centre. It is designed to operate over a range of -40 to +85 degree C, with no fans required.

The S402-LC/SW server system replaces several, separate systems that have been previously used by the army in an MRAP mine-clearing vehicle—including a larger, previous-generation GMS SO302 server, Ethernet switch, and mass storage. The S402-LC/SW combines multiple chassis and functions into a single, small, conduction-cooled server to fit into a very tight space in the vehicle at a price point roughly one-third of the previous separate chassis and functions, confirms GMS. According to the company, the S402-LC/SW is: a commercially available version of the army’s new mobile battlefield data centre server.  

The S402-LC/SW offers military and industrial customers the same high-performance computing that consumers get with Apple’s highest-performing desktop computer, says GMS. The sealed, enterprise-class mobile data centre is ready for battlefield duty, and small and rugged enough for the most demanding environments.

The 11.75 x 7.75 x 2.0-inch chassis can mount nearly anywhere in battlefield platforms used on the ground, in the air, or on the sea. It can also be mounted on telephone poles and powered by solar panels. Its server-class performance, networking options, I/O capabilities and removable storage, make the S402-LC/SW equally suitable for industrial and commercial platforms.

There are two variants. The S402-LC eliminates the Ethernet switch to reduce cost while including two 10Gbit and a one Gbit Ethernet ports. The S402-SW includes all the same features, including the low-latency intelligent Ethernet Layer 2/Layer 3 switch and four 10GbE and thirteen one-GbE ports. The network is capable of sub-30ms video frame rates using GigE Vision, a video-over-IP standard for Ethernet.

The single-chassis S402-LC/SW has MIL-STD-1275-conditioned power supply and front-panel military-style 38999 connectors. It is designed to simplify local and networked data processing tasks that require a fast 18-core Intel Xeon server CPU, with up to 256Gbyte of DDR4, ECC-protected RAM, and up to 32Tbyte of removable storage in a single rugged chassis. The S402-LC/SW supports four removable SATA drives as well as four fast, removable, and securely erasable NVMe PCI Express drives that are substantially faster than SATA SSDs, says GMS. NVMe drives make direct sensor-to-storage a reality in defence systems, says the company.

The standard S402-LC configuration includes two 10GbE and one one-GbE ports and a serial, audio, and video console interface with secure crypto and sanitise/zero features. Add-in I/O enables users to personalise the system via PCIe-Mini cards, an XMC, or GMS SAM I/O cards. When equipped with the optional intelligent Ethernet switch, the S402-SW configuration has four 10GbE ports and thirteen one-GbE ports for a dense yet compact server/router/switch/NAS sub-system that weighs around 10 lbs.

A version of the S402-SW created for the army accommodates low latency video-over-IP from cameras or sensors that is streamed to the drives over Ethernet and sent back out over Ethernet in real time to GMS SmartView panel PC displays, turning the S402-SW into a battlefield surveillance and SIGINT recorder in a ground vehicle. Video is processed through the server in less than a video frame (sub-30ms latency) so that operators can drive the MRAP using only the screens without becoming nauseous.

The S402-LC/SW also can replace air-cooled and failure-prone rackmount servers with a system that is sealed and compliant to MIL-STD-810G, MIL-STD-1275D, MIL-S-901D, DO-160D, MIL-STD-461F and has ingress protection up to IP66.

The S402-LC/SW system can be ordered from GMS with operating systems such as Windows or Linux pre-installed, along with hypervisors from VMWare. Enterprise-class software routers from Cisco are also available. Single- and multi-node NetApp software-defined storage (SDS) support is imminent, according to the company.



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