Recently we did a review of the Advantech MIC-730AI NVIDIA Jetson AGX Xavier AI edge appliance. During that, we saw some really interesting machines from the company in an adjacent space. Specifically, Advantech has edge computing devices for 5G carriers that were announced as part of the Intel Xeon “Ice Lake” edition launch. The company currently has several 2nd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable products in this space as well that we have not covered on STH, so we thought we would highlight four of those specifically since the Ice Lake parts are about a quarter away from release. Many server vendors would consider these simply their edge products, but Advantech has a large portfolio of systems that are designed for IoT and the industrial edge so these are higher-end servers.
Advantech 5G Edge Carrier Server Solutions
These servers are being designed for the ORAN and similar 5G edge markets. A big shift happened recently. Carriers decided that they would get behind an effort to utilize “white box” gear in 5G networks. Instead of expensive carrier products, the focus would be on leveraging more commodity hardware. As a result of this shift, a number of vendors have been targeting the space including Advantech.
Here are the four current-gen 5G Edge carrier servers that we are going to cover today:
Something very interesting in this table is that Advantech solution specifically calls out Intel FPGA Programmable Acceleration Card N3000 for Networking (Vista Creek) and also Intel eASIC solutions. This is one of the first server lines we have seen specifically marketed with eASIC.
The first server is the Advantech SKY-8100. This is a short-depth server at under 434mm/ 19.5″ that is based on the Intel Xeon D. There are a few different D-1500 SKUs available here. We have done a number of reviews on Xeon D-1500 short-depth servers from other vendors, but this is one of the only ones that includes redundant power supplies in this shallow of a chassis. Advantech also has dual 10GbE, quad 1GbE as well as two expansion slots and front/ rear management ports.
Going a bit bigger, the Advantech SKY-8101 is 508mm deep or around 20″. This uses a single Intel Xeon Scalable (Cascade Lake) processor. SSomething that is really interesting here is that there are fewer onboard network ports with dual 10GbE and dual 1GbE but this has more slots, up to four total, for expansion.
Moving to a 2U chassis allows the Advantech SKY-8102 to fit dual Xeons in the same 508mm/ 20″ depth. One also gets up to eight expansion slots in this configuration.
Then comes perhaps the “coolest” looking server. Advantech has a 2U single socket Cascade Lake server. This is only 430mm or 17″ deep but the top portion of the server comes with several option for networking. One can have 24+ networking ports on the top U of space.
Overall, these are some pretty unique configurations. We know many of our readers work with short-depth spaces for equipment so when we found these we wanted to share them as there are some fairly unique solutions.
We were told that these system are shipping but that the next-gen carrier-grade Ice Lake systems will ship in the Q4 timeframe. Still, we know that STH has many readers that work with telco gear and are planning O-RAN/ vRAN. We also have folks that like to use this gear in other applications so we thought it would be fun to show.
Let us know if you want to see reviews of these systems in the future on STH.