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A Server That Can Fall From the Sky, and Survive

timothy posted about a year ago | from the but-don't-stand-underneath dept.

Hardware 91

alphadogg writes "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." Hope they drop some hardened screens, too, to help with setup.

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91 comments

Perfect for me. (1, Funny)

ls671 (1122017) | about a year ago | (#42706297)

This is perfect for me. When my girlfriend goes nuts, she throws everything around, including computers. She broke a few already. My thinkpad T-43 amazingly survived a few hits from her.

Re:Perfect for me. (3, Funny)

bloodhawk (813939) | about a year ago | (#42706313)

sounds like you need to bolt stuff down or upgrade your girlfriend to the 2.0 model.

Re:Perfect for me. (2)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year ago | (#42706495)

2.x had a lot of bugs - literally and figuratively. The only one of the version two series that was worth anything, was 2.68. The version 5.x girlfriends are the bestest ever!

Re:Perfect for me. (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year ago | (#42709335)

Wasn't 2.69 better than 2.68?

Re:Perfect for me. (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | about a year ago | (#42709759)

Lets face it, none of you have even tried any of the girlfriend versions, your still stuck on hand 1.0.

Re:Perfect for me. (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year ago | (#42711655)

.68 would do you, and let you owe her. .69 insisted on full equality. I guess it's a matter of opinion which was better.

Re:Perfect for me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42706657)

or sell her on ebay and pick up a nice Russian bride.

Re:Perfect for me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42707057)

Isn't girlfriend v 2.0 == wife v 1.0b ?

Re:Perfect for me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42706591)

Break up, buddy. I've been in that exact situation and I can assure you that it is the only way.

Re:Perfect for me. (2)

rve (4436) | about a year ago | (#42706605)

Me too. Sounds perfect for a geek with a small house and young children.

Re:Perfect for me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42707187)

If you haven't broken up with an insane girlfriend that throws things, you have issues as well.

Re:Perfect for me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42707299)

First she throws your things, Then she throws your thing -at you-, then the punching begins. Get out.

Re:Perfect for me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42707431)

This is perfect for me. When my girlfriend

Yeah, nice one...

Useless without pictures (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42706309)

Needs pictures of the inside so we can see what makes it so rugged, but not even the manufacturer website has internal pictures, and the outside is just a generic 1U server.

Re:Useless without pictures (5, Informative)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#42706421)

Here's a link to the manufacturer's site, with pictures that don't need Javascript or social networking enabled:

http://www.ncst.com/content/bunker-xrv-5241 [ncst.com]

Re:Useless without pictures (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year ago | (#42706503)

"This server is suited for submarine and tacked vehicle racks"

Tacked vehicles? Tacked? Forgive me - I'm really not a grammar nazi or spelling nazi, but FFS, you would think that a corporate web page might get things right. WTF is a tacked vehicle? A sailboat? Possibly - but it's pretty certain that they mean TRACKED vehicles, like tanks and command vehicles.

If I'm trying to appeal to medical professionals, I'd like to get my terminology straight, at the least, so that I might actually make some sales. Ditto for the military community. Or any community. Any grunt who looks at that page is going to ask the same, "WTF is a tacked vehicle?"

As an aside - why does Firefox spell checker tell me that nazi is misspelled? WTF is with that? For that matter, WTF is also misspelled, and FFS - jeez!

Re:Useless without pictures (1)

icebraining (1313345) | about a year ago | (#42706601)

As an aside - why does Firefox spell checker tell me that nazi is misspelled?

Because Nazi is a proper noun and should be capitalized, and while that isn't a spelling error, it wouldn't make sense for them to purposely include an orthography error in their dictionary.

Re:Useless without pictures (1)

Hunter-Killer (144296) | about a year ago | (#42712673)

How to make military-grade network gear:

1. Get network equipment.
2. Slap it in a ruggedized box.
3. Slap an extra 0 or two on the invoice.

That said, I wouldn't mind having some PacStar [pacstar.com] gear around for the next disaster.

Re:Useless without pictures (1)

Steve Hamlin (29353) | about a year ago | (#42715599)

That link has no pictures of the inside, nor descriptions of what makes it so rugged. You completely missed the only two points of the post you replied to, and effectively restated the nothing-burger that is the submission.

Re:Useless without pictures (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42714065)

Need a picture of the gf to decide if it is worth having your servers be thrown around! :)

I'm waiting for the day (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42706321)

when one of these things accidentally drops on someone below and the official report is death from "server overhead."

Re:I'm waiting for the day (2)

ls671 (1122017) | about a year ago | (#42706333)

more like server overload.

More like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42706531)

death from sticker shock :)

We don't need to actually deploy these, just get our enemies to deploy them with 0 down, then send them the bill a few weeks later.

'Entire command staff wiped out by sticker shock!'

Re:I'm waiting for the day (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42706491)

I have always been sceptical about cloud computing. It's downright dangerous!

Re:I'm waiting for the day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42706869)

I can see it now. Some idiot patriot soldier will be amazed at the eagle or Lady Liberty decal descending upon him and will end up staring at it until it crushes him. "What? I was on the night watch, and I was watching it!"

Re:I'm waiting for the day (1)

Dabido (802599) | about a year ago | (#42727727)

Or there is a large stack of them in a truck and the top one falls on the person as they are driving giving a 'stack overflow' causing a crash.

Don't worry Iran... (3, Informative)

flyingfsck (986395) | about a year ago | (#42706323)

Bah, only +50 Celsius. Quite useless in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Siria...

Re:Don't worry Iran... (2)

ls671 (1122017) | about a year ago | (#42706351)

Holy shit, I never realized that temperatures could go that high on planet Earth, there is even unconfirmed report of 87 Celsius in Iran:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_weather_records [wikipedia.org]

Re:Don't worry Iran... (2)

Scoldog (875927) | about a year ago | (#42706371)

NSW in Australia has just survived a heat wave where there was recorded 50 degree Celsius in some of the bush towns. Where I lived, it hit 46 degree which is the highest temperature ever recorded

Re:Don't worry Iran... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42706431)

NSW in Australia has just survived a heat wave where there was recorded 50 degree Celsius in some of the bush towns. Where I lived, it hit 46 degree which is the highest temperature ever recorded

just recently a town in south australia i think it was Oodnadatta hit a maximum of 54C, then 52C the next day

Re:Don't worry Iran... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42706527)

Was in Greece last year in the 40s... relatively normal.

Saudi-Arabia Jeddah 52C ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42706773)

Doh,

It's on western coast, everybody and his uncle who's been living there knows that coastal areas are much cooler due the sea than the central parts, which Rub' al Khali [wikipedia.org] (ie. empty quarter) is so hot every damn year that asphalt roads don't last over summer. Wikipedia lists temperatures reaching "as high as 56C", but I can assure you that it gets IRL much higher locations where wind (shamal) does not reach.

Re:Don't worry Iran... (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about a year ago | (#42719633)

There is a (disputed) report of something like 57degC in Lybia, and generally accepted reports of 55-odd (IIRC) from Death Valley USA. I've worked in 49degC in the Arabian Desert (trying to maintain analytical machinery with oven temperatures that have to stay below 65degC in those conditions, when your AC doesn't work, is not "fun" by anyone's meaning of "fun"), and lower temperatures are just routine.

87degC ... I really doubt. It might not be under standard conditions (not that most of the others were measured at properly set up weather stations). It really does seem to be an outlier. But 57, or even 60 degC wouldn't be incredible on the face of it.

Re:Don't worry Iran... (2)

CodeheadUK (2717911) | about a year ago | (#42706485)

I have run regular HP DL360 servers quite happily in various locations around Afghanistan. Heat is a problem, but it isn't the ambient heat that's the issue. The environment is very dusty and moving parts (especially fans) have a very short life. Once the fan is dead, the heat then becomes a problem very quickly.
I notice the TFA doesn't mention any filtration, so these boxes are no better than OTS kit in that respect.

Also, getting blown up and shot at tends to reduce the useful life of boxes too.

Re:Don't worry Iran... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42706631)

If your problem is "the bad guys are shooting at us" then you don't need servers you need infantry.

It's once you have infantry and the bad guys are (mostly) not shooting at you that you want servers.

An army is a portable civilisation, and that means you've got to bring everything including the kitchen sink, quite literally, but obviously the first people you land are the infantry to fight any bad guys who might object to you putting a kitchen sink in their back yard.

Re:Don't worry Iran... (1)

horza (87255) | about a year ago | (#42708225)

Why not scatter some Raspberry Pi boards, the working ones that survive the drop can then form a mesh network. No moving parts at all, and so low power that a decent solar panel can make it completely independent off-grid. Being a Pi, somebody will probably hack one onto a Roomba to clear minefields.

Phillip.

DUST! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42709933)

Exactly.. cooling is a solvable problem, after a fashion. But it's like stuff for spaceflight.. no cooling fans pulling in outside air.. Conduction cooling to big fins on the outside is the only way to deal with it.

Re:Don't worry Iran... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42712173)

http://www.gms4sbc.com/index.php?Itemid=96&option=com_zoo&view=item&category_id=7&item_id=198

The rugged server is fine... (3, Funny)

KrazyDave (2559307) | about a year ago | (#42706355)

The problem is parachuting in the nerdy IT guy to set it up plus his supply of Code Red Mountain Dew and Doritos. So far, tests of their survivability has been dismal.

Re:The rugged server is fine... (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about a year ago | (#42707603)

Pre-install OpenBSD, and route the console port via GSM. I will configure it from my mum's basement with my Samsung Galaxy S3. Just email me the Mountain Dew, Doritos, root password, and its ISDN number.

Enhanced Administration (5, Funny)

pepsikid (2226416) | about a year ago | (#42706361)

This wouldn't work for me, because the only thing that keeps some of my servers from misbehaving is the fact that they know I can drop-kick it down the stairwell if it acts up one more time.

Re:Enhanced Administration (2)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about a year ago | (#42713973)

You're a brave man. I'm looking at the Poweredge 2600 next to me, and I'm pretty sure that if I were to thrust any appendage of mine at it, the server would definitely be the one to later say down the pub "You should see what happened to the other guy!"

Where is the news for nerds here? (2)

AchilleTalon (540925) | about a year ago | (#42706391)

Back in the nineties, when I was younger and working for a large computer supplier, they already have their PC (could be a small server as well) ruggerized to survive drop from helicopter platforms, mosquitoes invasions and chopped mosquitoes jam in cooling fan intakes and so one. Well, maybe it wasn't supporting extreme temperatures, I don't remember, that a few decades ago and yes, they were designed for the exactly same customer.

Re:Where is the news for nerds here? (2)

vlm (69642) | about a year ago | (#42706571)

Just a few years before you were working there, I was using the previous gen of deployed gear, Unisys/BTOS big green machines, and all that. We found that BY FAR the biggest problem was cabling. I'd like to see wartime deployable cabling, now that would be interesting. "We" tend to baby our gear, but you can imagine what UPS/FEDEX/DHL do it it before we get it, so a durable version of the shipping package isn't all that hard to make.

Re:Where is the news for nerds here? (2)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | about a year ago | (#42707161)

You'd like to see wartime deployable cabling? I have a better solution. No more wartime. Just stay home and stop sending your soldiers to play in the sand. Then take all that research money and spend it in something worthwhile. I want to see mars-landing deployable cabling.

Re:Where is the news for nerds here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42707993)

today "wartime cabling" is cat 6 and 4 strand fiber wrapped in kevlar

Re:Where is the news for nerds here? (1)

vlm (69642) | about a year ago | (#42710651)

Yeah but I bet you still have the same problems we did... "Whoops dropped the connector end in a mud puddle" "The humvee just snagged a cable and destroyed it" and practical concerns like kinks in the cable damaging the innards. Oh and it always seems to be too short. And lightning. Holy cow how can I forget lightning. In fact pretty much all the typical outside plant problems, except we didn't have "real" outside plant telco/cable guys so we had a rough time of it. And we had it "easy" sorta.

XRV-5241 a better model than the XRW-5241 (1)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | about a year ago | (#42706399)

> Hope they drop some hardened screens, too, to help with setup.

No screens but don't worry: it comes with SIRI!

Just like those Rugged Eggs! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42706417)

They can fall from the sky! ..But of course they have to be deployed via Air Freight.

Thanks slashdot, for yet another misleading headline disguised as news.

Who uses a screen? (1)

realkiwi (23584) | about a year ago | (#42706463)

> Hope they drop some hardened screens, too, to help with setup.

Sorry but what about disk images with ssh all set up and ready to go before throwing it from the plane? Most servers I have root on are thousands of kilometers away. The closest is about 600km from this screen and keyboard.

Re:Who uses a screen? (1)

Dekker3D (989692) | about a year ago | (#42706513)

SSDs wouldn't be damaged as much by an impact after a long drop. HDDs would, though.

As for getting it running and on the internet automatically, I don't think it quite does that yet. Do you want it to be a robot server, seeking its own internet and power cord?

We've already got those. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42706533)

They're called 'grunts'. :)

Fallout (1)

alexgieg (948359) | about a year ago | (#42706543)

Ah, so these are the servers behind those still-functional-after-hundreds-of-years terminals in our future post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland!

Nice Slashvert. (3, Informative)

couchslug (175151) | about a year ago | (#42706577)

I see fans and a more-or-less standard case.

So fucking what? Build it like a tactical radio, with a cast. finned case with no vents and passive cooling then I'll be impressed.

The Ballad of the Rack Server (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42706643)

Falling servers from the sky
Fearless LANs with bandwidth high
PCs link by night and day
Rugged racks in a tough array.

Fall from the sky? (2)

houghi (78078) | about a year ago | (#42706697)

They can drop it from the sky with a parachute and it will not break? What will they come up next?

Deployment of the parachute will be the biggest force. A skydyver will have 3-4G for a few seconds. [wikipedia.org] . Military will got to about 8G.

Considering that the servers will most likely not running, I am sure that the average packing for shipment should be enough. Just see that there are no moving parts and you should be able to get a lot more durability.

My guess is that the real damage will happen when some person drops it from the table during installation, not when it comes down on a parachute.

Re:Fall from the sky? (1)

bbartlog (1853116) | about a year ago | (#42706959)

I would expect the g forces on impact with the ground to be higher than those on parachute opening, even if they're transient. But overall I agree with your comment: parachute drop is not really the same as 'falling from the sky', and doesn't require much special preparation for the server. Maybe some packing peanuts.

argh! (2)

Keruo (771880) | about a year ago | (#42706817)

Somewhere at DoD:
Guys, I wanted you to build one thing, ONE thing only and you screwed up!
I wanted server capable of running SkyDrive, not one capable of Skydive!

Doesn't even meet Mil-810 (2)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year ago | (#42707015)

I was going to post that the military shock requirements for transport are MIL-810 and that's only a 2m drop on any surf/edge/corner without operational damage, but it turns out, it doesn't even meet that spec without requiring extra packaging:

"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."

You know, we can package inertial guidance mechanisms (some of the most shock sensitive components you're likely to ship, which have about 1/5th the shock resistance of a china plate) to meet MIL-810, so if you're going to require that we add special packing to meet the basic transport spec we may as well not spend $4k on this and save the money for packing.

Excuse Moi... but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42707073)

...any server can survive a parachute drop as long as it is powered down, it will need some protection but hardly any more than a human.
Any standard harddrive survive about 300 Gs for 2 ms in unpowered state (taken from Seagate Barracuda specs.), the same disk can survivie 80 Gs in operational state (this is a 7200 RPM SATA drive). A server harddrive is a little worse, only 250 Gs nonoperational and 60 Gs operational (Seagate Cheetah 15K).

Servers for First Responders? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42707113)

Sorry, first responders don't need fucking servers. They need life-saving equipment, not a database headache when they try to start defibrillating someone.

Oh, this is slashdot, where we try to sensationalize everything and fucking spew ads as stories for any company that makes a computer related product, even when it's fucking useless.

Parachute? (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year ago | (#42707149)

Dropped from the sky by Parachute is supposed to tell me it's rugged? We had about 300 kids design systems at home to protect eggs dropped from a helicopter when I was highschool. I do not find this impressive.

Should we call it "fall from the sky-net"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42707635)

You decide...

* :)

APK

P.S.=> I, for one, am glad to see it - @ least the boys in the service get the benefit of a BETTER, stronger technology vs. damage, hopefully (even though there's times I *think* they're only serving the purposes of "the controllers" with the Holy Dollar/Ca$h)...

... apk

Been doing this for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42707703)

Is this a shill post? How is this news? I have windows equipment that will operate in worse conditions.

sound rugged - but can it survive buggy code? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42708819)

sound rugged - but can it survive buggy code, malware, virii and stupid admin?

I only care about cat pee. (1)

laxr5rs (2658895) | about a year ago | (#42709149)

So far, with my inattentive glance through comments, I don't see cat pee mentioned anywhere.

That's a big PSU (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year ago | (#42709429)

Why do they need 500W for a 1U chassis that accommodates only two low voltage (60W for 6 core, 70W for 8 core) Xeons, 4 2.5" drives and 8 DIMM's?

That's only ~250W of peak load.

Re:That's a big PSU (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year ago | (#42711521)

Why do they need 500W for a 1U chassis that accommodates only two low voltage (60W for 6 core, 70W for 8 core) Xeons, 4 2.5" drives and 8 DIMM's?

That's only ~250W of peak load.

TFA says 750 watts? Then again, going by the second site listed, it's redundant, and the exact configuration is probably configurable.

It was probably cheaper to over-spec - IE a 250W PS would cost more than the 500W, plus the 500W is probably more efficient/requires less cooling.

If it's 750 watts total, that's 325 per redundant PSU, which is a 'comfortable' but not excessive margin for the peak load you quote. It'd also be about the peak efficiency curve.

Dell desktop worked after thrown out 2nd story (1)

dakra137 (1590245) | about a year ago | (#42720473)

Somebody flung a Dell Dimension L733r out of the second story into my backyard about 10 years ago. It still worked and still runs a telephony application when needed. The only discernible damage, other than grass stain, was that one of the plastic clips holding the motherboard in place broke. The remaining clips have been sufficient.
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