Free Your Servers from Thermal and Placement Constraints

By Farhad Sharifi

General Manager (U.S.)

congatec Inc.

April 21, 2022


Free Your Servers from Thermal and Placement Constraints
At one with nature — congatec COM-HPC Server-on-Modules with Intel Xeon D processors. Expensive, climate-controlled server rooms NOT required!

Industrial edge server installations have finally reached the point where they can operate in harmony with their surroundings, which are sometimes extremely harsh. Expensive, thermally-regulated server rooms that were previously required to protect them from the wrath of nature – namely heat, cold, and temperature fluctuations – no longer keep them captive and severely limit their placement options. Their liberator? The latest range of COM-HPC Server modules with Intel Xeon D processors.

High-Performance, Cost-Effective Edge Processing Where You Need It

With the use of Intel Xeon D processors, which can withstand temperatures from -40°C to 85°C, edge server installations can now be placed in the harshest locations more easily and cost effectively than ever before. Examples include the edge of the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 factories, carrier-grade outdoor communication installations and video surveillance hubs, as well as critical mobile systems such as trains, airplanes, and autonomous buses. The edge can finally be located wherever the handling of high data throughput and delivery of real-time performance at the lowest latencies is required.

With COM-HPC Server even complete fanless rugged servers become possible that can be mounted in harsh environments, like trains for retro-fit or on the shop floor.

Designed Around the “D”

Although server processors are now more temperature resistant than ever before, they still require a system built around them that is equally able to withstand the wide range of environmental conditions that could affect performance and reliability.

Embedded computing vendors must ensure that the design and manufacturing of all components in their embedded and edge computing platforms go hand in hand with the CPUs, matching their toughness, resistance to temperature fluctuations, and rock-solid reliability. These include the qualifying of each and every component, meeting requirements on the design and printing of the circuit board, applying temperature resistant coatings and shielding against electromagnetic and high frequency signals that could negatively affect their operation.

Putting the Pedal to the Metal for Real-Time Edge Server Performance

The perception of embedded computing vendors having a lead foot, especially when it comes to quickly freeing servers from thermally-controlled data centers, is further reinforced with the introduction of their application-ready, Intel Xeon D-based COM-HPC Server-on-Modules ecosystem. These new modules can be used not only for standard industrial environments, but also for a wide variety of outdoor and automotive applications.

The demands of developing tailor-made boards for dedicated edge servers are drastically reduced with the use of server-on-modules.

However, qualifying the new Computer-on-Modules ecosystem for harsh environments does not limit their server-class performance characteristics. The total number of available x86 cores has been increased to twenty. A drastically improved memory bandwidth of up to 1 TB is now possible due to the inclusion of 8 DRAM sockets at 2933MT/s. Up to 48 PCIe lanes are provided by the modules, with 32 PCIe Gen 4 lanes offering double-throughput per lane, as well as connectivity up to 100GbE and additional TCC/TSN support via 2.5 Gbit/s Ethernet, which are crucial for digitalization in IIoT and Industry 4.0 projects. Video storage and analytics servers haven’t been forgotten, with the addition of integrated Intel AVX-512, VNNI, and OpenVINO support for AI-based data analytics.

Support of real-time-capable virtual machines is made possible with the inclusion of the RTS hypervisor from Real-Time Systems, which allows for server balancing and server consolidation services for deterministic real-time server installations at the edge.

To ensure top level security, robust features such as Intel Boot Guard, Intel Total Memory Encryption - Multi-Tenant (Intel TME-MT), and Intel Software Guard Extensions (Intel SGX) are included. The integration of Intel ME Manageability engine and various remote hardware management function support is also included, such as IPMI and Redfish.

This makes an overall rounded performance package for a multitude of edge computing applications that must deliver real-time computing performance, with the lowest possible latency, in harsh environments. It is now available from congatec in application-ready sampling batches with a range of cooling options – from high-performance active cooling to passive cooling - that match the processor’s TDP. Comprehensive board support packages for Windows, Linux, and VxWorks, as well as RTS hypervisor support, help developers with their immediate implementation and evaluation of software.