New server can be parachuted into extreme environments

NCS Technologies' new rugged server can withstand extreme temperatures, drops and altitude

A rugged server from NCS Technologies introduced on Friday can withstand drops, will work in extreme temperatures and can be deployed via parachute into crisis areas or war zones if needed.

The Bunker XRV-5241 is a 1U rack server designed for organizations such as the military and first responders that need servers in rugged environments. The server has been tested to meet U.S. Department of Defense specifications for environmental, temperature and shock requirements.

"This equipment, in a transit case, will likely be parachuted into service in tactical deployments," said John Callahan, director of marketing at NCST. The Bunker XRV-5241 can withstand a free-fall drop of around 1 meter, but for parachute deployment it needs to be packaged into the case for additional protection.

Servers are not known for their ruggedness, but many laptops such as Panasonic's Toughbook are tested to the U.S. military's ruggedness specifications and can withstand drops and resist the elements while keeping components and data intact. The server was designed to be ready for extreme cases such as remote military deployments and could also be used on a truck or a ship in a combat situation.

The server can withstand temperatures between 32 degrees and 122 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees to 50 degrees Celsius) when in operation and between minus 40 degrees and 158 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 40 degrees to 70 degrees Celsius) when not running. It can withstand an altitude of up to 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) when operational and up to 25,000 feet when it is off. The server can also withstand a certain level of shock when falling from vehicles.

A rugged chassis is built around the server and the hard drives have been shock mounted, Callahan said. The server weighs 35 pounds (15.9 kilograms).

The server chassis is primarily made of thick steel constructed over two walls, and there are other "proprietary features" to protect the server from folding or bending over, Callahan said.

"In addition, to further protect the hard drives, we have a tool-less mechanism that prevents ejection or removal of the hard drive," Callahan said.

Additionally, the components have been secured to make sure nothing falls apart. A retention system allows expansion cards such as RAID controllers, network cards and graphics cards to stay in place. Add-on cards can easily fall out of place in the event of shock.

Servers need cooling, but the ability to withstand high temperatures means it can stay on racks without an air conditioner for long periods of time. The server comes with a 750-watt power supply, but kits allow it to operate via other power sources such as vehicles without the need for extra equipment.

The two-socket server runs on Intel's E5-2600 server chip, which is based on the Sandy Bridge microarchitecture. The server has eight memory slots to support up to 256GB of RAM. Other features include four storage slots, Ethernet LAN and PCI-Express 3.0 support.

The server is priced starting at US$3,699. It will be sold directly into the vertical markets.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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Agam Shah

IDG News Service
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