DOME is a Dutch government-funded project between IBM and ASTRON in form of a public-private-partnership to develop technology roadmaps targeting the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), the world's largest planned radio telescope. It will be built in Australia and South Africa during the late 2010s and early 2020s. One of the 7 DOME projects is MicroDataCenter (previously called Microservers) that are small, inexpensive and computationally efficient.
The goal for the MicroDataCenter is the capability to be used both near the SKA antennas to do early processing of the data, and inside much larger supercomputers that will do the big data analysis. These servers can be deployed in very large numbers and in environmentally extreme locations such as in deserts where the antennas will be located and not in only in cooled datacenters.
A common misconception is that microservers offer only low performance. This is caused by the first microservers being based on Atoms or early 32bit ARM cores. The aim of the DOME MicroDataCenter project is to deliver high performance at low cost and low power. A key characteristic of a MicroDataCenter is its packaging: very small form factor that allows short communication distances. This is based on using Microservers, eliminating all unnecessary components by integrating as much as possible from the traditional compute server into a single SoC (Server on a chip). A microserver will not deliver the highest possible single-thread performance, instead, it offers an energy optimized design point at medium-high delivered performance. In 2015, several high performance SoCs start appearing on the market, late 2016 a wider choice is available, such as Qualcomms Hydra.
At server level, the 28 nm T4240 based microserver card offers twice the operations per Joule compared to an energy optimized 22 nm Finfet XEON-E3 1230Lv3 based server, while delivering 40% more aggregate performance. The comparison is at server board and not at chip level....LESS