We are used to thinking of a datacenter as a big room full of racks and servers that are statically interconnected to provide processing, memory, accelerators and storage resources. But what if all these different components could be simply combined and released only as and when needed? That is exactly what the EU-supported project dReDBox is trying to achieve.
Datacenters provide the computing infrastructure to run an organisation's IT operations and store, manage and disseminate the data it generates. However, today's datacentres are still very rigid because the different components are always connected even when they are not being used, incurring a significant waste of resources and energy.
dReDBox aims to address this challenge by developing a pooled-computing model based on disaggregated IT resources that can be deployed where and when required, to perfectly match the needs of cloud users. This will lead to big improvements in utilisation, scalability, reliability and power efficiency, both in conventional cloud and edge datacenters. In sum, it will allow to do more within the same space and with less energy consumption.
In order to achieve this, the dReDBox project has gathered a versatile set of European companies and research organisations that are developing a full-fledged, vertically integrated datacenter-in-a-box prototype to showcase the benefits of this solution.
SMEs at the core of innovation
One of the companies at the core of this project is the Dutch SME Sintecs, which participates for the first time in an EU-supported project. Specialised in electronic design, Sintecs has developed all the hardware needed for the prototype of this data center-in-a-box.
Because of the fixed duration the project, this prototype had to be developed in very a short timeframe. However, the new concept requires a completely new computing system, so the developing process is very complex. The only way to be able to finish this on time is if the design is right on the first go, something that Sintecs successfully achieved.
The biggest challenge in this new computing system is that data must be exchanged via high-speed interconnects that are pushing the boundaries in terms of component integration. Sintecs analysed the electronics thoroughly, optimised board layout and modified standard components, so that the system was able to run at its highest possible speed (2400MT/s) in a broad temperature range and without any timing violations or other shortcomings.
By doing this, Sintecs avoided design iterations and managed a first-time-right design, which saves around €50 thousand per iteration round for a high-end system like this.
The dReDBox prototype is now ready and it will be used to demonstrate the value of this solution in three use-cases: security, network analytics and telecom.
By participating in this project, SMEs like Sintecs can benefit from collaboration between different partners, open up new markets and increase their competitiveness:
"The opportunity to be involved for the first time in an EU project is a great experience for us at Sintecs. dReDBox gave us the possibility to push the high-speed boundaries with technologies that were new to us, and to open new markets in the HPC sector."
- Tom Berends, Development Manager at Sintecs BV
The dReDBox solution will be showcased in the coming months at different fairs such as DesignCon, Embedded World, OFC, and DATE to create market awareness and show how a new product can evolve from an EU research project.