Design

Rugged military grade 5U rack mounted HPC computer system

28th September 2018
Alex Lynn

Provider of ruggedised computers and LCD display products designed for harsh military and industrial environments, Chassis Plans, has announced the release of its first rugged High Performance Computer (HPC). The new HPC M5U-22 is based on a ruggedised 5U enclosure that is designed to meet the environmental requirements for a wide range of ground, vehicle, shipboard and aircraft installations.

Operating specs include 12,000ft, zero to 50°C, five to 95% humidity, noncondensing and vibration/shock resistant. This system also offers a high-power redundant power supply and RAID options for additional hard drive redundancy.

The heart of this system is designed around a long-life system board using the new Intel Xeon Scalable CPUs. It also provides four 3.5 drive bays, a slim slot fed optical drive, two USB 2.0 ports, up to 1TB of RAM, and can run Windows 10, Windows 7 Pro as well as other 32 and 64 bit operating systems. The CP SysCool thermal management system extends the life of the computing system, reduces power consumption, and lowers overall system noise levels.

The system has the capability to support up to four NVIDIA Tesla GPU’s in a single package.

Chassis Plans’ rackmount computer systems are designed with a removable back plate that allows a 12V power cord to run from the computer’s power supply to a display or keyboard video monitor. This Exterior Power Jack is available for most Chassis Plans’ monitors. By running the display with the computer systems’ power supply, this Exterior Power Jack option can provide many benefits including fewer needed cables, less weight and cost, and elimination of additional equipment, such as a power brick.

Mike McCormack, President of Chassis Plans, states: “Delivering ruggedised HPC platforms to the warfighter will enable them to take advantage of portable ‘Super Computer’ performance while deployed and operating in a harsh environment. These platforms will serve as the foundation for many different applications covering scopes of satellite imaging, video enhancement, aerodynamics and simulation, computer vision and signal processing. Most importantly we are proud to deliver a system that is designed and manufactured in the USA.”

Over the years, there has been a growing need from the military for high performance computing (HPC) platforms. By supplying parallel processing techniques for solving complex computational problems in a ruggedised platform the HPC computer has revolutionised data capture and analysis. Previously this type of processing power could only take place in large data centres, but now HPC computers can be deployed and utilised directly where needed. 

In the case of video processing, an extremely fast dual-CPU computer can only analyse a single HD (1080p) video stream at about 15 frames per second. The addition of just one NVIDIA Tesla GPU to the server platform will accelerate the video processing software by up to 12 times. This number can also be increased by adding additional GPUs to a platform. This boost in parallel processing power can reduce the time required to analyse 24 hours of HD (1080p) video to under one hour. This enables the military to more quickly identify security threats or targets of interest at a much faster rate with a higher degree of accuracy.

Additionally, HPC systems can be utilised for image-enhancement applications that reveal previously hidden data in satellite or UAV images. Parallel processing allows for the use real time image stabilisation and enhancement techniques to clean up video feeds. Having these computers deployed in the field, versus having to transmit or transport data back to remote locations for further analysis, adds a new dimension when information can be processed and understood in real time.

As each customer’s project is unique and offers different challenges, Chassis Plans has the ability to provide a customised platform solution. With a variety of mechanical and electrical changes and upgrades to several COTS hardware paths available, a customer can custom design a HPC solution that maximises performance, ruggedisation and budgetary price points.

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