HoneyComb LX2 Server Blog

1RU Dual Sled Arm Server

HoneyComb LX2 Server

PROJECT BACKGROUND

During the last decade Arm based processors have dominated the mobile and tablet market gaining a strong foothold in the industry and it’s easy to see why. Arm processors offer a lower cost of development, great performance per watt, efficiency, and the ability to control what goes into your device in terms of both hardware and software. Large chipmakers can design their own custom Arm SoCs by buying the relevant IP and building blocks provided by Arm or using available standards such as the 32-bit Cortex A7, A8, A9 and the newer popular 64-bit Cortex A53 and A72.

ARM IN THE SERVER SPACE

While the existing server space is dominated by Intel and AMD with their x86 architecture due to the strong partner ecosystem both in hardware and software compatibility, there is a real need for tools and support there. Hence customers prefer Arm based servers and the demand for them is expected to grow in the coming years due to the following reasons:

  • Direct Cost: Arm based solutions tend to be much less expensive vs. their x86 alternatives, which appeals to many companies that have large scale operations.
  • Efficiency: Arm architecture is more power efficient and can match or be superior to x86 in certain workloads and tasks, resulting in lower power consumption and requirement of less thermal management.
  • Growing software community: There is a growing community that supports Arm based servers and SoCs with the latest software tools and ecosystem.
IMG 15332 scaled

SolidRun’s 1U Dual Sled server is made for native Arm build server farms, and designed to reduce footprint in racks by integrating two computer units (HoneyComb LX2) into a 1U chassis. 

The HoneyComb LX2 is a 16 core Cortex A72 based machine that runs at up to 2.2GHz while consuming approximately 40W (for more information about power consumption see here). It is packed in a Mini-ITX form factor and offers extended connectivity, such as 10 x Gbps SFP+ ports for SDN (up to 40GbE), USB 3.0, PCIe open slot for GPUs, as well as extended connectivity and much more.

HoneyComb LX2 is not just another Arm SBC, but a full-fledge certified Aarch64 based development and testing solution built by developers for developers. There is no custom BSP with this platform, but instead, you can install and run any Linux or BSD based distribution out of the box, try out VMWare ESXi on Arm, or demo Windows 10 Enterprise on Arm. With 16 cores and up to 64 GB of memory, you have all necessary hardware resources to develop Arm apps and solutions natively on our workstation. Increase your productivity by easily deploying and testing your Aarch64 code using native virtualization and container solutions. Expand your horizons by leveraging the 4 x 10Gbps SFP+ ports for Software Defined Networking development ideas. HoneyComb LX2 is the Arm64 development tool that will unlock your time to develop software and ideas that interest you, rather than struggling just to get the board up and running.

NXP’s LX2160A SoC packs all the right ingredients for intensive networking applications such as 10GbE/100GbE ethernet, PCIe Gen 3.0, SATA controllers, 2 x DDR4 with ECC support, 100Gb/s Data Compression Engine, and internal security features (secure boot).

If higher levels of integration are needed, please contact us and we’ll gladly work with you on solutions that match your needs.

The unit is capable of handling all typical workloads one could expect from a 16 cores machine.

HoneyComb server3

USE CASES

  • Build Farms (to compile Arm based software)
  • Arm hosting servers (Can run VMs, containers, provide local storage)
  • Redundant Firewalls
  • Redundant IDS/IPS
  • Redundant Routers
  • Route Reflectors
  • Redundant Small File Servers
  • Redundant Load Balancers
  • Redundant Edge Servers

SOFTWARE

  • openSUSE Leap 15.2
  • Fedora 
  • FreeBSD (being developed)
  • NetBSD (being developed)
  • OpenBSD (being developed)

HONEYCOMB LX2 FEATURE OVERVIEW

HoneyComb layout front

HARDWARE SPECIFICATION PER EACH SLED

Form Factor1U 19” Rackmount Chassis with Dual Mini-ITX Sleds
I/Os3 x USB 3.0
3 x USB 2.0
Networking4 x SFP+ ports (10GbE each)
1 x 1GbE copper (RJ45)
Processor1 x NXP Layerscape LX2160A 16-core Arm Cortex A72 up to 2GHz
Memory & StorageUp to 64GB DDR4 DIMM
64GB eMMC
MicroSD
4 x SATA 3.0
Misc.USB to STM32 for remote management
Development and Debug interfacesMicro USB
JTAG
Expansion card I/Os1 x PCIe x8 Gen 3.0, open slot (can support x16)
1 x M.2 for SSD NVMe
TemperatureCommercial: 0°C to 40°C
Power 1 x 300W PSU
2 x PWM 40mm x 40mm fans
Each kit contains 1RU Dual Mini-ITX
each 1RU chassis contains 2 x Sleds chassis, with each sled having:
– w/ 1 x HoneyComb LX2
– w/ 1 x 300W PSU
– w/ 2 PWM 40mm x 40mm fans
– w/ SATA3 cables
– w/ Y Cable for PWM fans
– w/ 2.5″” drive tray and 3.5″” drive tray w/ rubber shock absorbers”
* DDR, SSDs, SATA HDDs not included by default.

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