As one of the first ARM powered general purpose datacenter servers to hit the market the Boston Viridis 2U server makes use of 48 of the Calxeda quad-core server-on-a- chip (SoC) modules to deliver 192 processing cores in a small, energy efficient package.
The SoC solution contains RAM, 10 GbE networking interconnect fabric, external 10 GbE network connections, a management interface and SATA disk connections. The only real customer options are how much storage to connect to the SATA controller (the 2U design permits up to 24 connected SATA devices) and how to configure the external 10GbE Ethernet connections. In all other regards the SoC design is completely self-contained. Each of the 48 Calexda Energy Core nodes is based around a quad-core ARM 9 Cortex CPU, which allows the delivery of the 192 processing cores in the 2U package.
Boston claims that for appropriate datacenter server tasks, the Viridis is capable of delivering performance better than an entire rack of traditional x86 servers from the single 2U appliance while consuming 1/10th the power. Boston is currently usingthe Calxeda refence design backplanes and a pair of stout redundant power supplies in each chassis. They expect to have their own designs available by the end of August and careful attention to actual power requirements and efficient design could further reduce the power demands of the server.
For customers already running the supported Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS and Fedora v17+ distributions, migrating appropriate applications and services to the Viridis server should be a straightforward proposition.