Editor’s Pick: Custom Open-Hardware Platforms

Family of servers and storage solutions handles analytics, AI and virtualization.

Equus Compute Solutions makes available its WHITEBOX OPEN family of customizable server platforms. Shown here is the 24-bay D2680 server. Fully configured, this 2U rackmount server can provide about 350TB of hard-disk and solid-state drive storage. Image courtesy of Equus Compute Solutions.

Tony LockwoodDear DE Reader:

Open source software has rapidly become the foundation of many outfits' software-defined infrastructures. The catch? Are you sure your hardware really maximizes your open source software-defined infrastructure? Is your hardware open to customization like your open-source software? If not, read on.

Equus Compute Solutions recently announced its WHITEBOX OPEN family of open-hardware server platforms. They have storage systems under this line too, but we'll stick to servers.

Equus Compute Solutions makes available its WHITEBOX OPEN family of customizable server platforms. Shown here is the 24-bay D2680 server. Fully configured, this 2U rackmount server can provide about 350TB of hard-disk and solid-state drive storage. Image courtesy of Equus Compute Solutions. Equus Compute Solutions makes available its WHITEBOX OPEN family of customizable server platforms. Shown here is the 24-bay D2680 server. Fully configured, this 2U rackmount server can provide about 350TB of hard-disk and solid-state drive storage. Image courtesy of Equus Compute Solutions.

What does open hardware mean? Basically, it means you can access your hardware documentation and discover what the hardware can do. You can turn on capabilities you didn't know it had or modify it in ways that fit your workflow environment. Just like with open source software. No more wondering if the software development kits have given all the information you need.

What Equus did with its WHITEBOX OPEN platforms is combine open standards-based hardware with open-source software. That means IT teams can assume full control of your software and hardware technology infrastructure. Open hardware also tends to be less expensive, so your investment in iron should take on a different trajectory, too.

Each WHITEBOX OPEN family member leverages at least one Intel Xeon Scalable CPU. These chips are designed to optimize interconnectivity between compute operations, networking and storage. They are particularly tuned for things like advanced analytics, data compression and high-performance computing applications like artificial intelligence.

WHITEBOX OPEN servers use Open Compute Project (OCP) hardware features such as OCP slots that support 1 to 100 Gbps Ethernet networking. The short of this feature is that you no longer need a separate Ethernet management port and its associated dedicated network, saving bucks, opening up rack space and getting some cabling out of there.

They also leverage OpenBMC, an open-source implementation of controllers that monitor and manage system health as well as provide various critical system management capabilities. They also support LinuxBoot from the Linux Project. This plays a big role by letting you customize the server BIOS as well as improve security.

The WHITEBOX OPEN family of server platforms offers nine rackmounted flavors from, say, getting started through data center on steroids. Some are covered in today's main write-up. Complete details on all are available at the end of the main write-up. Still a little skeptical or data-deprived over what's in this open-standards-based hardware business for you? Then download the white paper and watch the video linked at the end. Good stuff.

Thanks, Pal. – Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood, Editor at Large, DE


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Anthony J. Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood is Digital Engineering’s Editor-at-Large. Contact him via [email protected].

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