Supercomputing data-centre performance in a battlefield platform

June 19, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
Offering 10-times the bandwidth, the Kontron StarVX ruggedises mainstream technology to speed deployment of 3D reconstruction-based applications

Kontron's StarVX High Performance Embedded Computer (HPEC) system brings supercomputing I/O bandwidth and performance, previously only achieved in IT data centres, to the battlefield. Based only on mainstream IT technology (TCP/IP, PCIe, Intel processors ) for greater platform support and longevity, the 3U VPX-based Kontron StarVX enables military systems developers to drastically reduce the process from design to field deployment of radar, sonar, autonomous vehicles and other 3D reconstruction-based systems. Co-developed with PLX Technology, the Kontron StarVX integrates 3rd generation Intel Core processors that provide sustained 16 GB/sec speeds to/from the memory subsystem, while the Kontron 3U VPX platform architecture provides up to 6 GB/sec sustained bandwidth on the data plane through TCP/IP and 4 GB/sec on the PCIe backplane thanks to Kontron VXFabric. The result is an application-ready platform that delivers up to ten times more I/O data bandwidth that can even enhance existing TCP/IP-based unmodified applications.

The Kontron StarVX is a rugged, air or conduction-cooled 3U VPX-based system that features PCI Express (PCIe) centralised backplane interconnect at up to gen3 speed. Kontron and PLX Technology collaborated to enhance Kontron's innovative VXFabric software, which is designed to help engineers reduce development costs by simplifying and accelerating application development of inter-CPU communication in VPX system architectures. VXFabric provides the required software between a PLX Technology PCIe Gen 3 switch and the bottom of the standard TCP/IP stack to enable boards to run any existing TCP/IP-based application without having to be modified. This approach also simplifies the migration of deployments to emerging standards such as 10 and 40 gigabit Ethernet (GbE).

Transforming the landscape of military supercomputing, the Kontron StarVX offers a simple and cost-effective platform that takes HPEC from the IT data centre to the field by integrating a unique combination of mainstream technologies that offer outstanding bandwidth in a small footprint, according to Joe Eicher, Military Business Line Manager, Kontron. Kontron StarVX restores – for the embedded domain –