Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Intel and Crystal Group server helps utilities manage power infrastructure

Steve Rogerson
January 31, 2018

Intel has partnered Crystal Group, DC Systems and VM Ware to produce a rugged server that can help utilities monitor, manage and modernise critical power infrastructures.
Iowa-based Crystal Group demonstrated the result of the collaboration – its RS37AS17 3U rugged server engineered to consolidate compute, storage and networking in a single, scalable system capable of withstanding harsh environments – at last week’s DistribuTech exhibition in Texas.
“Crystal Group’s RS37AS17 answers the growing demand for a quick, painless way to modernise and streamline power generation and distribution substations, boost efficiency and security, reduce costs, minimise downtime, and meet current and future requirements,” said Jim Shaw, Crystal Group executive vice president of engineering. “A true server-class powerhouse in a compact footprint, the Crystal Group RS37AS17 3U rugged server converges key data-handling capabilities – including high-performance processing, storage and networking – in a single rugged, reliable server designed to bring military-grade durability and reliability to power substations everywhere.”
It can replace multiple aging devices with one, compact unit to reduce size, weight, power and cooling overhead, as well as streamline maintenance. The rugged server is customisable to ease the transition to a more modern, reliable and capable system, and is modular and scalable to support evolving requirements and technologies over a long operational life.
The model is configurable with four drive bays, three PCI Express slots, support for up to 1Tbyte of memory, and flexible IO. Compute, storage and networking capacity can be added to accommodate future upgrades and expansion.
Crystal Group engineers have decades of experience developing field-tested, combat-proven rugged hardware that meets or exceeds strict industry standards to craft the server specifically for critical power infrastructure applications. High-quality components are stabilised in a rugged aluminium enclosure with thermal management to boost system reliability, availability and survivability in the face of difficult conditions and extreme environments, including shock and vibration, extreme temperatures, and humidity at even the most remote power substations.
The unit is designed and tested to meet or exceed the IEC 61850-3, IT-65, IEEE 1613 (surge only) and MIL810 standards, and complies with Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) 5A992.c.
It uses commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technologies such as Intel Xeon scalable processors, VM Ware virtualisation software, and DC Systems’ human-machine interfaces (HMIs).
Crystal Group’s products are manufactured in the company’s Hiawatha, Iowa, USA, facility certified to AS9100C:2009 and ISO 9001:2008 quality management standards.