Military & Aerospace Electronics 2020 Innovators Awards

Why are high-performance embedded edge computing (HPEEC) products receiving so many accolades? As a secure and extremely ruggedized miniaturized data center with uncompromised performance and scalability, HPEEC is the next technological leap toward smarter, sustainable on-platform processing.

Mercury received six Innovator Awards from Military & Aerospace Electronics, including two for its HPEEC products, EnsembleSeries™ SCM6010 storage drive and SFM6126 high-bandwidth switch.

Watch to learn how HPEEC is the future of sustainable on-platform processing and get an up close and personal view of our award-winning products from Mercury’s experts.

Read the transcript.

Ralph Guevarez:              

Hello, and welcome to MercuryNOW, a vodcast series brought to you by Mercury Systems. I am your host, Ralph Guevarez. And today’s topic, the Military & Aerospace Electronics 2020 Innovators Award. Hello and welcome to the show. The recently announced Military & Aerospace Electronics Innovators Award has cast a light on the trusted and secure solutions Mercury Systems has been innovating to address the needs of the modern aerospace and defense industry.

In addition to two platinum awards, Mercury received two gold awards and two silver awards as well. I’d like to focus today’s conversation on two of Mercury’s award-winning products, the EnsembleSeries SCM6010 an OpenVPX bulk storage module and the EnsembleSeries SFM6126 an OpenVPX wideband PCIe switch. Both feature the latest in technology for high performance embedded edge computing or HPEEC. A subject of great interest as artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles and electronic warfare to name a few are creating high demand for data center level computing capabilities in swap restricted and remote environments. My first guest today is John Bratton, director of product marketing for Mercury Systems. John, good day and welcome to you.

John Bratton:                    

Good morning, Ralph. Thank you.

Ralph Guevarez:              

Congratulations on the award, John. I think it’s a great accomplishment. Now the Mercury awards were given for two Mercury HPEEC system building blocks. What is it about these that is worthy of the title, military and aerospace electronics innovators?

John Bratton:                    

Yeah. Thank you, Ralph. Great question. High-Performance Embedded Edge Computing or HPEEC is giving a massive boost to the capabilities aerospace and defense system builders have to address the big process workloads remote from the data center. Our customers are seeing how commercially developed cloud-based AI processing is changing everything, from connected smart speakers and phones to backroom automation, to autonomous flying taxis. And they need the same capability in their applications on their platforms, whether they’re connected to the data center or not. By embedding cloud processing capability into their applications, our customers platforms are gaining greater situational awareness and autonomy and the ability to execute ever more sophisticated missions in an increasingly complex and competitive world. HPEEC repackages the data center into aerospace certain defenses de facto embedded processing architecture of OpenVPX that they can deploy anywhere. We are very pleased to receive the Military and Aerospace Innovators Award. They recognize the importance of HPEEC and what it is making possible. The awards are for two of our recently announced HPEEC system building blocks are EnsembleSeries SFM6126 PCIe switch and our SCM6010 mass storage module.

Ralph Guevarez:              

Thank you, John. So what does HPEEC deliver to aerospace and defense system designers? And how do the EnsembleSeries SCM6010 and SFM6126 feature in that?

John Bratton:                    

Yeah. Our customers want the same processing performance and capability found in the data center that they can embed in their mobile platforms. Think of the data center as being composed of scalable building blocks, specifically CPU server blades powered by Intel Xeon processes with AI accelerators. GPU and FPGA co processing engines. Powered by such devices as NVIDIA’s latest GPU’s. Again which tend to feature on the AI accelerators. Low latency bulk storage to handle the memory demands a big processing tasks like AI and wideband low latency fabrics that efficiently connect everything together. HPEEC systems are composed of the same functional building blocks. They just happened to be packaged into the form factor that aerospace and defense can deploy. Our OpenVPX STM6010 and SFM6126 are such building blocks. They mirror the data centers mass storage and PCIe switches respectively. The HPEEC approach is the logical technological step towards smarter, sustainable on-platform processing. The challenge has always been how to take high-performance computing that resides in benign air conditioned data centers and places into size, weight and power constrained applications for deployment in the harshest most contested places on earth.

Ralph Guevarez:              

Thank you, John. At this time, I’d like to introduce my next guest Shaun McQuaid, director of product management for Mercury Systems. Shaun, hello and welcome to the show.

Shaun McQuaid:              

Hi there, Ralph. It’s great to be here.

Ralph Guevarez:              

Now Shaun it seems obvious, you take the best commercial technology that drives the most powerful data centers and place it where the data is at the source. Why is it only possible now?

Shaun McQuaid:              

Well, think of it this way. Traditional embedded processing systems rely heavily currently upon a laptop kind of approach to system building. Mobile class laptop processors which are already somewhat rugged and power efficient are connected up to GPU’s storage, et cetera, with switches as one might set up a home computer network. Now the HPEEC approach is fundamentally different. The HPEEC base architecture is that of the data center.

HPEEC uses the same silicon, the same fabrics, same software and tools and repackages them for deployment in aerospace and defense applications. To place uncompromised data center performance into SWaP constrained platforms requires robust solutions to problems that address this industry’s need for things like size, weight, and power performance. High reliability for dependable performance regardless of the conditions and extreme environmental protection to deploy anywhere. Next, sustainability for long service life and sustain a technology advantage with the assurance of sustainable long-term technology roadmaps. So the underlying technology remains relevant over time. Next, system integrity. With built insecurity that protects their systems wherever they go. And with trusted design components and systems built and trusted facilities. And finally, scalability and interoperability. By using commonality across interfaces for compatibility with other systems and commonality across architectures for scalability and maximum technology reuse. The trick to basically placing the data center in the nose cone of a fighter jet to process streaming data from NexGen radar, for example, requires having robust solutions to all of these challenges.

Ralph Guevarez:              

Thank you, Shaun. Now, John, if I had to summarize aerospace and defense needs the data center tailored to their specific needs for use in their extremely challenging and contested environments, would you say that’s an accurate statement?

John Bratton:                    

Yeah, I would Ralph. That’s exactly right. Aerospace and defense needs the processing mind of the data center whether they’re connected to it or not. And they’re doing this by taking it with them on their platforms. HPEEC gives them that ability by protecting, shrinking and making it secure. So think of HPEEC as a miniaturized data center with uncompromised performance and scalability that is secure, extremely rugged to go anywhere.

Ralph Guevarez:              

Thank you, John. Now Shaun, I could see you why repackaging the data center for on-platform aerospace and defense missions is a game changer. So I must ask, how has it done?

Shaun McQuaid:              

Well it’s through Mercury’s industry leading R&D investment profile. Our ongoing investments in focused R&D that produced the industry’s most efficient cooling, packaging and embedded security. We partner with industry leaders and invest extensively in world-class domestic design, manufacturing, test and support facilities. Specifically, we have developed the technologies required to repackage the data center into a rugged OpenVPX form factor without making any compromises on performance or capabilities. We’re able to shrink these systems and optimize them for power and cooling with processing board miniaturization and advanced air, liquid or hybrid cooling technologies. We build in extreme environmental protection from the start with our MOTS plus technologies that embed the most modern and powerful processors for reliable deployment anywhere. We sustain these systems and the performance with a wholly modular open systems architecture approach or Mosa. That includes ANSI/VITA OpenVPX compliance and also alignment with SOSA or the Sensor Open System Architectures.

And by partnering with industry leaders like Intel and NVIDIA for the commercial world. We develop next-gen products that are aligned to their roadmaps. And we share technology so that all data center processing features are mirrored within the HPEEC environment with no performance or feature compromises. We make our customer system secure and trustworthy by building in the industry’s most proven system security engineering with our built secure technologies, right from the ground up. And we use our accredited DMEA facilities to design, make, test and support these systems and are trusted and enter our supply chain to ensure device authenticity. And we build an interoperability and scalability by using commonality across interfaces for scalability and interoperability and with the same Silicon Software architecture and the same fabric and tools from the cloud all the way to the tactical edge. It’s the combination of all of these capabilities that make HPEEC possible.

Ralph Guevarez:              

Thank you, Shaun. So John HPEEC is the data center made ready for deployment in aerospace and defense applications. Is that correct?

John Bratton:                    

Yes it is. HPEEC exactly mirrors the data center and uses the same processes, architecture and fabrics, and the same software and tools right. HPEEC systems are composed of EnsembleSeries building blocks that mirror data center building blocks. We integrate them into our customer’s purpose-built systems, according to their mission needs. These processing systems run the same software, use the same tools as the data center. So our customers can leverage their existing applications with no reporting required.

Ralph Guevarez:              

Thank you, John. This is quite an exciting time to be at Mercury. Is there anything you would like to add? What are some of the things that we have to look forward to?

John Bratton:                    

It certainly is an exciting time to be at Mercury. And I would like to just touch upon one thing. We talked about scalability a lot. And this is certainly a cornerstone of the data center architecture. And we build that scalability into our HPEEC solutions. At Mercury however, we do a lot more than this. The technologies we use to ruggedize and make secure HPEEC systems we apply to other form factors like rack mountain, custom small and customs perform factor. The ability to repackage the data center in other form factors is a huge advantage to our customers as they seek to scale the applications across domains and platforms by using a single enterprise architecture.

Ralph Guevarez:              

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you both for joining me today. It has been a pleasure having you. Congratulations on all the awards, winning products that we discussed today. And I wish you the best moving forward. Godspeed. I look forward to having you both on the show again soon. Thank you. This has been another edition of MercuryNOW, a vodcast series brought to you by Mercury Systems. I am your host, Ralph Guevarez signing off.