ASTRON & IBM Center for Exascale Technology

DOME Microserver Premiere, July 3rd

On July 3rd at ASTRON, the Dome project unveiled its first prototype of the microserver, about the size of a mobile phone, equipped with water cooling to allow for very dense packaging.  The server is a small, low-cost, low-power device, working like a full-fledged server. This technology will play an essential role in future data centres and many other applications.

Microserver premiere

About 60 guests from SMEs, larger companies, knowledge institutes and governmental bodies gathered at ASTRON in Dwingeloo to witness the presentations and the demonstration of the microserver.  The group included many DOME Users Platform members as well. In addition, people were also able to watch this Dome Premiere live through an online video stream. The pictures above show Ronald Luijten explaining the properties of the new microserver (left), and showing the microserver to the audience (right).  

                                    

Given the fact that the microserver is a low-cost and low-power full-fledged server with a multicore processor and high input/output data rates, there are many potential application areas. To stimulate further discussion on this, Ronald mentioned four application areas, shown above. From left to right: a smart fridge, a smart TV, a self-driving car, and avionics applications. 

After the microserver presentation, three companies involved in the microserver development explained about their experiences with the microserver design and with specific design challenges. Some of them also outlined how their companies contributed to reaching this important milestone. The pictures above show Tom Lamers (Transfer DSW) left, explaining about their experiences with microserver design, Ronald Otter (Roneda / Strukton) in the middle, explaining about intricacies of  printed circuit board design, and Hans Klos (Sintecs) at the right, addressing challenges in future microserver designs. 

                

In this open Users Platform event, the DOME team and its Users Platform partners presented the microserver, a technology well-suited for servers, certain processing application areas in (radio) astronomy, the upcoming SKA, and many other areas. For example, together with the University of Cape Town, Radboud University, and the University of Oxford, DOME is investigating applying microservers to the MeerLICHT telescope. 

Following-up on Ronald’s application area examples, Gert Kruithof, head R&D ASTRON challenged the audience to come up with ideas for joint microserver business development. Promising ideas can be supported for further development, and in addition, microserver units will be made available for prototype testing.  For further information on the microserver, or for business ideas, please contact us at info@dome-exascale.nl. 

ps. The microserver presentation slides can be downloaded from www.slideshare.net/IBMZRL/ibm-and-astron-64bit-server-for-dome