congatec lays the foundation for modular micro server designs

7th August 2017
Lanna Cooper

congatec has launched the COM Express Type 7 quick starter set as the fundamental basis for OEMs' modular micro-server designs. The quick starter set simplifies the evaluation of the first server-on-modules designed in accordance to PICMG's COM Express Type 7 standard, poised to be globally deployed in cloud, edge and fog server applications.

Engineers further benefit from reduced validation efforts of their own carrier board layouts, as they can re-use the proposed best practice components and PCB design schematics for their own dedicated next-gen modular micro-servers. congatec provides the schematics of the new carrier board (conga-X7/EVAL) to all registered quick starter set customers for free.

The congatec quick starter set is well suited for the design of Industry 4.0 micro servers communicating in real time, redundant fog servers, and transcoding cloudlets at the edge of carrier-grade infrastructures typically operating on a massive scale. It targets commercial temperature (0 to 60°C) as well as extended temperature ranges (-40 to +85°C) for rooftop and public transportation installations and is universally applicable. With four 10Gb and 1Gb Ethernet, four USB 3.0 and baseboard management controller providing VGA, iKVM and virtual storage the new congatec evaluation carrier board can instantly be utilised at any test designer's standard workspace.

"Cloud, edge, and fog application markets are all brand new - and engineers need a trustworthy platform strategy to ensure fastest time to market for their challenging and usually time critical projects. By offering a quick starter set that is compiled out of our COM Express Type 7 modules, complementary cooling solutions, and our new evaluation carrier board conga-X7/EVAL, we provide everything engineers require for the computing cores of these servers. To support fast implementation, we never implemented automated service chats and anonymous telephone hotlines, recognising that personal and competent support is ideal to make our customers successful. We can also help with dedicated Embedded Design & Manufacturing services for the embedded server designer," explained Christian Eder, Director Marketing at congatec.

The conga-X7/EVAL evaluation carrier board in detail
The congatec conga-X7/EVAL evaluation carrier board for COM Express Type 7 server-on-modules features four 10Gb Ethernet SFP+ interfaces, which can be equipped with optical (XFP) or copper transceivers, as well as a Gigabit Ethernet port. For server extensions, the board executes 32 PCI Express lanes via PCIe x16, PCIe x8 and two PCIe x4 slots.

Further extensions include four USB 3.0/2.0 and a COM port. Its Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) features include an integrated board management controller, adding VGA for local displays as well as iKVM to transport keyboard, video and mouse signals over LAN for remote management. For SSDs or HDDs, there are two SATA Gen3 interfaces and the already mentioned PCIe lanes which support NVMe for fast mass storage devices. Further features include LPC header, I2C bus, SM bus, 8b GPIO and fan control. The power supply supports ATX PSUs as well as 12VDC plain via banana jacks. For custom designs, congatec provides the PCB schematics and bill of materials to registered customers.

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