EC making use of special rack servers

Many organisations around the world use rack servers these days as part of their network storage systems. One body that has been trying to find the best such solution to meet its particular needs is the European Commission (EC).

The commission, which is the executive body of the European Union, has launched a programme to tackle the energy efficiency implications that may arise from its increased investment in high-performance computing (HPC) infrastructure. The initiative has been dubbed CoolEmAll.

Recently, the EC announced plans to increase its investment in HPC from €630 million (£532 million) to €1.2 billion before 2020. It wanted to make sure that it is able to utilise the provisions as efficiently as possible.

The main outcome of the project, which involves a consortium of companies and organisations, is to create a set of open source designs based on a high-density server called a RECS Compute Box. This has been described as a “data centre in a rack” and it consists of several high-density server units. It will be able to contain up to 600 individual server boards, which is around ten times what can typically be expected in rack servers.

As such, the developments may be followed closely by those in the network storage industry.

Meanwhile, each Compute Box will contain 18 thermal and 18 current sensors. These will be integrated into the baseboard infrastructure and will enable the network status, fan speed and power usage of the boards to be tracked.

The EC hopes that the designs for the high-efficiency servers will be used commercially for HPC projects around Europe in the future. Also, the CoolEmAll project is looking at ways of developing simulation, visualisation and decision support software to help provide a real-time modelling tool which could be utilised by firms that rely on HPC.

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