Variass to manifacture 64-Bit Microservers developed by ASTRON and IBM

26 april 2016

Yesterday it was announced that Variass will manufacture the first 26 64-bit Microservers for ASTRON and IBM. This is the first order of the Microservers which began development in 2012 as part of an IT roadmap for the Square Kilometer Array (SKA). For ASTRON and IBM, this is an important milestone in the valuation.

This important milestone is the direct result of research collaboration between ASTRON and IBM through the partnership DOME, funded by the Province of Drenthe and the Ministry of Economic Affairs. ASTRON and IBM focus within DOME on research and valorisation of exascale computing technology.

The news was announced yesterday at the Hannover Messe during a signing with the Dutch minister of Education, Culture and Science, Jet Bussemaker.

Jet Bussemaker, Minister of Education, Culture and Science: “Here you see that it is obvious to look at the combination of infrastructure, science and the economic ecosystem as a whole: scientific collaboration leads to economic impulses as we can see here with the development of the Microserver and the role of ASTRON, IBM and Variass”.

Fig 1. The Microserver as it is displayed at the Hannover Messe 2016.

Follow-up Order IBM Zurich
IBM Research Zurich also indicated that it intends to place a follow-up order in the context of the further development of a Micro Data Centre and therefore order another thirty to fourty Microservers. These will then be used to demonstrate a first prototype of a Micro Data Center. IBM has therefore signed a letter of intent at the Hannover Messe.

Microservers and Micro Data Centres are within DOME one of the spearheads of technological developments and therefore several parties have a User Platform Collaboration Agreement with ASTRON and IBM. Among the parties are: the University of Oxford, Philips, Eindhoven University of Technology, Sensor City. Further development with good test results will most likely lead to further development of the Microserver and the concept of the Micro Data Center.

“I like to call it a datacenter in a box,” said Ronald Luijten, data motion architect at IBM Research – Zurich. “With the combination of power and energy efficiency, we believe the technology will be of interest beyond DOME, particularly for cloud data centers, Big Data analytics applications and Cognitive Internet of Things.”

Microserver
The first Microservers will be manufactured by Variass and will be ready this summer. “The Microserver is an example of innovation to the edge by miniaturization and combination of the various components” said Henk Smid, Managing Director Variass.

Fig 2. This is where the Microserver soon will be produced by Variass.

To test and demonstrate the potential of the Microserver, the first Microservers were handed out to third party companies last November. They are testing the Microserver for applications beyond radio astronomy.