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€6.4 million to develop cloud computing server

Press release issued: 22 March 2016

A consortium has been awarded €6.4 million to develop a new type of cloud computing server, which could lead to much faster processing, better resource allocation and overall lower power and cost.

Engineers from the University of Bristol are part of the dReDBox consortium that will work on the three-year project, funded through the EU’s Horizon 2020 program.

In today’s cloud data centres, the physical system has individual server units contributing processing, memory, accelerators and storage resources. However, this arrangement experiences a significant waste of these resources as well as low power consumption, due to the inability to closely match user IT requirements to the resources available within a single server or sets of servers. The challenge in this arrangement is to be more efficient, flexible and agile.

The new dReDBox design aims to solve this by moving from today’s server-as-the-unit model to a pooled-computing model, enabling an arbitrary sizing of disaggregated IT resources, locating them where and when required, to perfectly match cloud user requirements. By doing this, dReDBox aims to change cloud to unprecedented efficiency levels while reducing electric power consumption by up to 20 per cent.

Dr Georgios Zervas, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering , member of HPN group, as well as Smart Internet Lab, and the University’s project lead, said: “dReDBox is an exciting project that aims to transform the existing data centres by making the IT building blocks, processor and memory units, communicate with each other at the speed of light. The modularity of the system would allow for a wide range of deployment scenarios spanning across small-scale mobile/edge and fog computing systems up to data centre farms.

“The project will provide a unique platform to showcase our world-leading research on optical and high performance system architectures and network technologies that will underpin the computers of the future.”

Dr Kostas Katrinis from IBM Research and project lead, added: “There are major shifts in where and how computing is consumed. In turn this brings challenges in how we build IT infrastructures. dReDBox has the ambition to take on these challenges by materialising the vision of disaggregation. We are excited about taking such a timely journey, as part of a strong consortium of European partners.”

The dReDbox consortium, led by IBM Research – Ireland, involves prominent European research and development organisations, including Telefonica (Spain), University of Bristol (UK), University of Thessaly (Greece), Foundation for Research and Technology (Greece), Barcelona Supercomputing Centre (Spain), NAudit (Spain), Sintecs (Netherlands), Virtual Open Systems (France) and Kinesense (Ireland).

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