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Greener and Safer Next Generation Servers in the EU-funded Project M2DC

The partners in the M2DC project are working together on a Horizon 2020 programme funded by the European Union to develop the next generation of modular microserver datacenters with low power consumption and pre-integrated security and failure detection mechanisms.

In 2014, the European data centres were responsible for 1.6% of the entire electrical energy demand of Europe. Two years before it was 1.5% and this share is expected to continuously rise in the future, according to the ENTSO-E statistics report. One of the key issues of the M2DC project is to improve energy efficiency of data centers. M2DC focuses on new low-power and low-cost microservers, which may contain low-power small computing nodes (e.g. ARM-based) and accelerators (e.g. FPGA). To reduce overhead of virtualization and enable further power usage reductions, M2DC proposes power-aware management methods based on modern solutions such as: Metal-as-a-Service (MaaS; Ubuntu Juju) concept, OS-level virtualization (Containers; Docker) and immutable Unikernels (MirageOS, OSv). Security is another major concern for such data centers and its users. M2DC addresses this issue by integrating threat detection mechanisms, integrated data encryption and an “inside Europe” hardware design. To analyse network traffic and detect malicious attacks, the Intrusion Detection System (IDS) will be integrated by XLAB, partner in the M2DC project. The Suricata IDS gathers data about malicious domains and blocks access to clients. Development of M2DC servers is driven, from the early stages, by real use cases with demanding applications, such as image processing (from CEWE photo service company), sensor data analytics (from Vodafone Automotive), cloud (from beyond.pl cloud provider), and meteorological simulations (from PSNC HPC centre). M2DC plans to deliver servers (called appliances) optimised for specific classes of applications to achieve high efficiency and low cost of ownership. For more information on the M2DC project and the partners within, combining expertise from various fields such as embedded and data centre areas, cutting-edge hardware with relevant applications, and software management with hardware support, visit the official website: http://m2dc.eu/en/ The M2DC project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 688201.

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