Boston Viridis Project
Ultra Dense, Ultra Low Power Computing Platform
The Boston Viridis Project is the result of an innovative collaboration between Boston and Calxeda. Born from this project, the Boston Viridis Project is based on a revolutionary new approach to highly parallel, ultra low power computing utilising a number of Calxeda EnergyCore™ SOCs (System on a Chip) as opposed to a traditional x86 based architecture.
The Boston Viridis Project is, in essence, a self contained, highly extensible, multi-node cluster with integral high- speed interconnect and storage within a standard 2U rackmount enclosure.
The Boston Viridis Project is a standard 19” 2U rackmount system utilising a similar chassis to our well established and multi award winning Quattro 2U server range. This means easy access to internal components, hot-plug & redundant PSUs, hot-plug storage and easy access to the system hardware. The key points to the processing hardware are as follows:
• 48 SoC components delivered on 12 Calxeda EnergyCard platforms • Each EnergyCore™ SoC contains a quad-core processing unit, providing a total of 192 cores per 2U enclosure • 24 x 2.5” SATA HDDs or SSD devices • 4 x 4GB miniDIMM modules per EnergyCard, providing a total of 192GB of RAM per 2U enclosure • Rear I/O supporitng 4 x SFP+ cages for external fabric connectivity and 1 x serial port
What is an SoC?
An SoC is a single, self contained, microsystem on a chip incorporating the following main components:
• ARM Cortex Quad-core CPU 1.1 > 1.4GHz • EnergyCore™ Management Engine • I/O controllers • EnergyCore™ Fabric Switch
Each SoC then connects to the following components to complete a single Calxeda Cluster node comprising of:
• 4GB DDR3 DRAM (via miniDIMM connector) • Flash Memory • External network and SATA disk connections • Unified Fabric Interconnect (currently 10GbE)
What is an EnergyCard?
The Boston Viridis Project contains a total of 12 EnergyCards each of which have a single PCB containing the following key components:
• 4 x Calxeda EnergyCore processors
• 4x 4GB DRAM ECC mini-DIMMs (1 Per SOC)
• 4x SATA Connectors per node
System Board Interconnect Fabric
Scalability is one of the key areas for the Viridis project and new interconnects will only serve to enhance the current capabilities. Each Calxeda node connects to every other Calxeda node through an on-SoC 10GbE link via an integrated, though expandible, 10GbE fabric.
EnergyCore™ Management Engine
The future of autonomic power optimization and system management operations
As an integrated hardware/software solution, each EnergyCore™ SoC contains a separate, dedicated processor that performs real-time operations to maximize performance while minimizing energy consumption. For both single-node and cluster-wide management, the embedded Management Engine is responsible for:
• Automated Power Management of the SoC with the ability to instantly turn on and off over 12 power domains yields maximum performance per watt
• Cluster-Aware Fabric Management for power and routing optimization within a server cluster reduces service downtime by ensuring availability through redundancy
• Remote Systems Management interfaces that work with existing system management tools results in seamless operational integration when deployed
Reduce energy waste, increase service availability, and simplify systems management
As the always-on “brain” within the EnergyCore™ architecture, the intelligence provided through the integrated Management Engine provides:
1.Lowers energy consumption and maximizes performance per watt by providing fully integrated Policy- based Power Management with fine-grained system-level power control. Various policies exist to maximize performance and throughput, minimize energy-consumption, or automatically find the right balance
2.Increases service uptime and prevents downtime due to network failures by automatically adjusting EnergyCoreTM Fabric Switch routes around failed nodes or congested links
3.Simplifies systems management by natively integrating with standard tools via industry standards-based management (such as IPMI 2.0 and DCMI)
4.Enhances security with a built-in design for protected boot via TrustZone® technology to prevent rootkit level attacks
5.Enables system-level integration and differentiation with an extensible framework for adding chassis controller functionality and other custom extensions