On October 6, 2020 we hosted an episode of OnLogic Live! This episode gave an overview of our newest line of AMD powered servers. You can read the recap here, or scroll to the bottom to watch the full episode.
Why AMD Powered Servers and Why Now?
AMD Powered Servers came to the market to address the growing need for high compute power and server grade features at the edge. This need is growing because there is an increase in data volumes due to the use of more advanced sensors, industrial automation using machine vision is becoming more common, and virtualization and containerization of applications is pushing the need for higher core counts.
Historically, the OnLogic server line has repurposed our Industrial PC motherboards in standard rackmount form factors. Our new server line, featuring both Intel and AMD platforms, introduces true dedicated server-grade hardware. We’re very excited to add servers powered by AMD EPYC and AMD Ryzen processors to our line with market leading technology for high performance.
AMD Powered Servers Offer a Mix of Form Factors
OnLogic’s AMD Powered Servers offer a mix of form factors – including the compact MC850 and 1U to 4U rackmounts. Our server line includes the entry level -54 Intel Xeon E based servers and our -70 Xeon Scalable servers. We have added AMD Ryzen to our entry level systems as the -40 series, and AMD EPYC to our 2U and 4U lines as the -60 series.
Take Advantage of OnLogic Experience
We have combined these cutting edge AMD platforms with OnLogic’s experience in supporting industrial computing projects. From our experience, we can confidently say that no two IoT or Edge deployments are the same. We’ve designed this line to be modular and extremely configurable to help customers create the right platform for their edge computing project.
How are the AMD Powered Servers Being Used?
One example is a customer using our AMD EPYC powered Edge Servers for smart retail. For this project, a single, high-performance on-premises edge server is used to run all smart retail functions. This is enabled by EPYC’s high core count and plentiful PCIe lanes. (Check out our “Ultimate Guide to PCIe” to learn about this technology.)
This customer virtualizes all of their smart retail functions and uses dedicated processing cores to manage them. With the AMD EPYC platform supporting up to 64 cores and 128 threads, there’s plenty to go around
This server manages the point of sale function for registers, it runs the digital signage, video walls and interactive displays in the store, it also acts as the NVR (network video recorder) for security and surveillance, and has a GPU for machine vision on those video streams to analyze customer foot traffic in the store. The MK400-60 has 7 PCIe x16 slots for expansion, essentially removing PCIe lanes as a limitation. In this application, we configure the system with multiple PoE and 10 Gb networking cards, a RAID adapter with hot-swap bays, and separate GPUs for video output and machine vision. For this particular client, we also build, test and pre-image each system and ship them directly to the retail location for installation – simplifying and accelerating deployment.
OnLogic Services are a Key Component
For edge computing servers, flexible configurations and deployment services are a key part of our product line. Our sales and engineering teams work directly with customers to configure a system best matched to the requirements of their application. We designed these systems to be highly modular, and we have a portfolio of pre-certified supporting technologies, including a variety of storage drives and expansion cards, but, we also work with customers to source or consign specialized components if a new technology is required, like FPGAs and fiber networking cards, or even proprietary components.
We can even provide custom branding for our servers to improve the out-of-box experience that our customers can offer to their end users and personalize the hardware and labeling so it’s really theirs. This level of flexibility is unique in the server market and allows us to work with customers to rapidly ship prototypes and quickly transition to larger-scale deployments. (For more information about prototyping, we have written an article about why you need to create a hardware prototype.)
Traditional Server Use Case Example
We have a client using the compact MC850-40 Ryzen edge server as an industrial data collector for manufacturing. The customer chose this system for the high-bandwidth PCIe Gen 4 connectivity, enterprise grade NVMe storage, and remote management using the dedicated IPMI port. PCIe Gen 4 provides twice the bandwidth of PCIe Gen 3, and these AMD platforms are the first to market with Gen 4 support. Current PCIe Gen 4 devices include super fast NVMe storage, GPU and FPGA accelerators, and high-speed networking up to 200 Gbps in a single slot.
AMD Powered Servers Address the Need for Speed
For example, in an industrial setting requiring highly detailed material inspection or robotic automation, our customers are using high frame rate 4k cameras and LiDAR sensors for measurement and object tracking. These both create a huge amount of data and require very high bandwidth, but, an array of these cameras and sensors can be connected to, and managed by, a single compact MC850.
What makes OnLogic’s Servers Powered by AMD Different
From a hardware standpoint, our Ryzen products offer a unique combination of server features with a high-end desktop architecture, this allows us to meet the needs of entry-level edge server projects without over-specing the level of compute. The price to performance ratio these Ryzen systems offer is really impressive. For applications that need server features, like advanced networking and remote management, but that don’t need the highest possible processing power, our Ryzen-based servers are a great option.
We Match Customers to the Best-fit Solution
Our approach to hardware focuses on flexibility and modularity – we like to say that our systems are designed to be redesigned, and that’s especially true for servers. So when a customer comes to us with an application, we can quickly adapt our systems to meet their needs.
Take Advantage of our Expertise
This flexibility also means there’s a lot more we can do with these systems than we can possibly offer on our website. We highly recommend that you contact us for server projects to discuss your project with us. We have experts ready to help you make sure that you get the right system in the right configuration.
Our in-house Engineering team has a wealth of experience fine tuning these configurations for each project and we find these configuration conversations between our customers and the OnLogic team to be incredibly valuable. This direct access to engineering resources isn’t something you’re likely to see from most hardware companies but it is the OnLogic way. We like to say that we can help you “Make it Possible”.
We’re committed to offering our clients the best possible computing solution and we pride ourselves on helping customers configure their systems to their exact specifications. This can often mean bringing in software and ecosystem partners to help, whether that’s Amazon Web Services (AWS), Inductive Automation or any of the other software or hardware providers we work with to create full solutions.
The Ryzen 3000 server series is our entry level offering but still supports up to 16-cores and 32-threads. The highlight of our Ryzen servers is the incredible value they add to our server line. The price to performance ratio Ryzen provides is unheard of in the server space.
The Ryzen 3000 series is available in our MC850-40, our 1U MK100B-40 rackmount, and 1.5U MK150B-40 rackmount. Each of these systems will support PCIe Gen 4 expansion. This expansion is available now in the MC850 and is coming soon in the MK100 and MK150. Our Ryzen systems can be configured with up to 128 GB of ECC memory. All three systems feature standard dual 10 Gb networking and a dedicated IPMI port for remote out of band management.
The EPYC 7000 series is the highest performance and most expandable platform OnLogic has ever offered. Our EPYC systems can be configured with processors ranging from 8 to 64 cores in a single socket, which is pretty incredible! EPYC also provides 128 PCIe Gen 4 lanes, which allows our systems to support 7 full PCIe x16 slots. EPYC is available in our 2U MK200-60 and the 4U MK400-60 rackmount. Our EPYC systems are currently qualified to support up to 256 GB of ECC memory, and we are working to support higher capacities soon. Similar to our Ryzen systems, our EPYC line features standard dual 10 Gb networking and a dedicated IPMI port. The MK200 and MK400-60 can be configured with optional hot-swap bays and multiple internal storage configurations.
What does the Future Hold for OnLogic’s AMD Powered Servers?
Our currently available Ryzen and EPYC platforms are based on AMD’s Zen 2 architecture and provide market leading performance and expandability. We’re excited to continue to work with AMD on future hardware launches, including the next generation Zen 3 architecture. For our part, OnLogic will be focused on expanding the capability of our AMD powered server line with additional supporting technologies like next-gen storage options and PCIe Gen 4 expansion cards including RAID adaptors, GPUs and networking cards.
Q & A
What is it like to work with AMD on these products?
AMD has been great to work with, both from a technology and marketing standpoint. They have supported our development of these products from the beginning. We work closely with the AMD Embedded team who are focussed on the type of edge computing use cases that our clients are building.
Why is now a good time to launch AMD powered servers?
We want to offer the best possible hardware solution to our customers, and AMD Servers give us one more way to do that. These new AMD Ryzen and AMD EPYC platforms have added features and levels of performance that our customers are asking for. Ryzen and EPYC are two great additions to our portfolio and we’re offering them alongside our Intel Xeon E and Xeon scalable servers.
Can you touch on pre-loaded OS and software support for these systems?
Our standard OS offering includes Ubuntu desktop and server, as well as various Windows options including Windows 10 IoT Enterprise and Windows Server 2019, as well as the Core, User and Device licenses for Windows Server. We can also work with customers to capture custom system images which can be pre-installed on systems prior to shipment. This imaging service provides the most flexibility.
The MC850 looks very different from a traditional server. Tell us about this form factor.
Traditional server hardware is meant for controlled environments like data centers. Programs like the Open Compute Project are designed to make those types of configurations standardized and interchangeable, but not all server applications live in a data center.
Edge and IoT Deployments have Unique Requirements
Edge and IoT deployments have unique requirements that can not be met by traditional hardware, and the flexibility and variety of form factors of our products, including the compact MC850, are meant to address that. Check out our AMD case study on Edge Servers that reveals how OnLogic systems are designed to be installed wherever they are needed.
One of our favorite comments from a live event attendee:
“The MC850 looks great!”
What is the Lifecycle for AMD EPYC and AMD Ryzen powered servers?
Our CPUs are supported by the AMD Embedded team with an extended lifecycle of 5 years. However, it’s important to consider the lifecycle of all components in the system, which can vary. Our team can work with customers to determine the overall lifecycle on their specific configuration. We’ve written several articles that can help you understand lifecycle and how it might be the most important requirement. Our technical sales team is available to help you work through your lifecycle requirements.
Do you have plans for solutions based on EPYC 3000?
Not at that this time, but if you have a specific need, please reach out to us to see if we can help you meet your requirements.
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