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ATCA in the Cloud

3/26/2013
Arguably one of the most discussed and chased after markets within the computing, communications and software industries, cloud computing continues to occupy center stage in the thinking of users, press, analysts and equipment vendors. Although often referenced as "The Cloud," cloud computing represents a broad mix of components and technologies each of which has a crucial role to play. From networking infrastructure to seas of compute and disk servers and a broad set of specialized software the total market for cloud computing continues to expand rapidly. According to the Yankee group, global revenues for 2010 totaled $37.8B and by 2015 that will have grown to $121.1B. SaaS (Software as a Service) continues to represent the lion's share of this growth and along with the infrastructure of the data center is the hard center of any fluffy cloud.
 
Many of the telecom service providers have raised concerns about the "public cloud" with respect to performance, quality of service (QoS) and security and have now defined the "carrier cloud" that addresses these specific issues. With AdvancedTCA technologies and platforms playing a crucial role in the telecom and networking infrastructure they become a natural choice for both carrier and public cloud solutions.
 
The cloud stands for a broad range of applications and services that are available on-demand through the Internet using a largely self-service model. Typically tiered in a pay for what you use structure cloud computing services have high levels of elasticity and are dependent on access to large resource pools. From a consumer perspective some of the benefits of cloud computing can be seen as:
 Flexible access –access services anytime, from any location and any device
 Access to specialized resources
 Self-service  –no/minimal IT skills required to implement
 Collaboration – multiple users can work on files and documents from wherever (and whenever) they are
 Less expensive – No requirement to purchase hardware or software. Most importantly, pay only for what you use.
 Critical IT functions such as backup, security and upgrades etc. are done by the service providers
 
For a cloud service provider there are numerous challenges that must be met to be able to provide these benefits:
  
 Security (data, access) is critical in a heavily virtualized environment
 Scalability on all dimensions of IT (processing power, storage, applications, network) – infrastructure systems must 
  economically scale to very high volumes and preferably do so in a  granular fashion
 24x7 availability with high QoS (Quality of Service)
 Service packaging (productizing) as customers want vertically integrated hardware, software, support solutions
 Effective resource utilization – must be able to meet ever changing demand patterns without having to ‘over provision’ to meet worst case scenarios
 Optimizing of datacenter efficiencies maximizing ROI on CAPEX and OPEX
 
The architecture of the networking andcomputing infrastructure becomes critical to managing these challenges. Most implementations are based on standard rackmount servers combined with network switches. A typical rack configuration would have 12 x 2U appliance servers with 2 x 1U switches totaling 26U. Now with Intel® based AdvancedTCA solutions one can achieve the same performance density in a 14U rack space. Using Advantech’s MIC-5332 blades, which can be populated with up to 16-cores using two Intel® Xeon® processors per blade, and a 40GE switch and backplane configuration, Equipment Providers are building highly flexibility and scalable solutions to match the requirements for the carrier cloud and the next stage in the public cloud computing evolution.
 
With the challenges inherent in the rapidly growing cloud computing market where continual upgrades in capacity and performance are required, being able to do more with less space is a huge benefit. Carrier-grade attributes, coupled with the ease of expansion and upgrade offered through ATCA blade additions and swapouts makes cloud computing solutions and AdvancedTCA architectures a natural fit. For high levels of performance, ideal for carrier cloud computing and security applications one should take a good look at the feature set of the Advantech MIC-5332 with Dual Intel® Xeon® processors.
 
MIC-5332 DUAL INTEL® XEON® E5-2600 SERIES PROCESSOR BLADE
 
Advantech’s MIC-5332 is a dual processor ATCA blade based on the Intel® Xeon® E5-2600 series. It enables the highest performance available in ATCA form factor with up to 16 cores and 32 threads of processing power, fast PCI Express gen 3 lanes running at up to 8Gbps, and best in class virtualization support. Two QPI interfaces between the CPUs improve memory and I/O access throughput and latencies when one processor needs to access resources hosted by the other socket. With four DDR3 DIMMs per socket in a quad channel design running up to 1600MT/s, the MIC-5332 not only offers superior memory bandwidth over 3-channel designs, but can also support memory densities up 256GB using latest LR DIMM technology. It outperforms previous generation dual socket designs while keeping similar thermal characteristics with balanced airflow resistance.
 
• Two Intel® Xeon® E5-2600 Processors
• Intel® C600 Series PCH server class chipset with integrated SAS controller
• 8 DDR3 VLP DIMMs up to 256 GB with ECC support
• Up to four XAUI ports on Fabric interface
• Two 1000BASE-T ports on Base interface
• Three 1000BASE-T front panel ports
• One Fabric Mezzanine Module support with front I/O support (type II)
• Two CFast / one 2.5” SSD storage Device
• Fully managed, hot swappable RTM
 
 
 
Integrated 6-SLOT AC or DC ATCA CHASSIS, 40G Switches and Advantech MIC-5332 Application Blades
 
Offering the highest available AdvancedTCA performance envelope with network throughput fueled by a 10GbE controller Advantech’s Intel® Xeon® E5-2600-based ATCA blades provide the perfect combination of flexibility andperformance. When integrated into one of the highly optioned AdvancedTCA chassis with 40GE switches and backplane they create the ideal choice platform for cloud computing applications.