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€6.4 million to develop cloud computing server

dredbox logoEngineers from Bristol University are involved in the dReDBox consortium that will be working on a three-year project, funded through the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme to develop an improved cloud computing server.

In today’s cloud data centres, the physical system comprises individual server units contributing processing, memory, accelerators and storage resources. However, this arrangement results in a significant waste of these resources, as well as low power consumption. This is due to the inability to match user IT requirements closely with the available resources 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 improve resource use and lower power consumption 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 match cloud user requirements perfectly. By so doing, dReDBox aims to provide unprecedented efficiency levels while reducing electric power consumption by up to 20%.

Dr Georgios Zervas, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering 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.”

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