Mercury Systems
Mercury 5e31fa5ae645c

Modular Switch Supports Composable Data Centers

Jan. 29, 2020
Based on the OpenVPX modular architecture, these data switches incorporate fifth-generation packaging, cooling, and interconnection technologies for high reliability in the harshest environments.

Switching components and subsystems for data centers must often pack great power into small packages, per defense/aerospace size, weight, and power (SWaP) requirements. To accomplish this while maintaining system design flexibility, the EnsembleSeries SFM6126 PCI Express (PCIe) switch from Mercury Systems leverages the OpenVPX architecture to provide reliable and secure data distribution building blocks that fit mission-critical applications even where space is tight.

The switch design draws from lessons learned in the commercial world. “One of the latest trends in commercial data centers is to use a composable infrastructure which allows the computing, storage, and switch fabric resources to be individually changed—aggregated, disaggregated, and composed—based on an application’s precise needs, giving system architects much greater flexibility in deploying and reconfiguring resources as needed,” said Joe Plunkett, Mercury’s vice president and general manager for Sensor Processing Solutions. “We have applied that approach with our new EnsembleSeries SFM6126 switch, using PCIe switching to embed a composable data center ‘I/O distribution architecture’ in SWaP-constrained harsh environments. This fundamental capability enables our customers to equip our military with the smarter, more capable platforms and systems they need to detect and defeat emerging threats from adversaries, and once again showcases the power of Mercury to make commercial technology profoundly more accessible to aerospace and defense.”

As in the commercial world, the growing number of sensors, autonomous vehicles, machine learning and AI in military applications such as cognitive electronic warfare (EW) and smart radar systems are driving the needs for large data processing resources. For tactical systems, one challenge is in providing data resources in SWaP-compatible solutions that can be transported where needed. The OpenVPX architecture enables large data processing resources in small components and the embedded composable architecture is ideally suited to demanding processing-intensive applications. The processing power of these switch modules enables flawless transfer of large amounts of data from cloud data centers to tactical “edge” environments, although with commercial-like cost structures for affordability in aerospace and military applications.

About the Author

Jack Browne | Technical Contributor

Jack Browne, Technical Contributor, has worked in technical publishing for over 30 years. He managed the content and production of three technical journals while at the American Institute of Physics, including Medical Physics and the Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology. He has been a Publisher and Editor for Penton Media, started the firm’s Wireless Symposium & Exhibition trade show in 1993, and currently serves as Technical Contributor for that company's Microwaves & RF magazine. Browne, who holds a BS in Mathematics from City College of New York and BA degrees in English and Philosophy from Fordham University, is a member of the IEEE.

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