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Optimised for harsh industrial settings

19 October 2023

THE TREND toward hyperconverged infrastructures is also overtaking the manufacturing and automation industry. The new Siemens SIMATIC IPC RS-828A servers combine the reliability and quality of rugged industrial PCs with the high performance of data center servers based on AMD Embedded EPYC technology. Compact and with an integrated high-performance cooling system, they are suited for installation in standard control cabinets with depths of 800mm.

Modern industrial applications are becoming increasingly demanding and performance hungry. With condition monitoring, AI, and high-resolution image processing,  data streams are growing constantly. Even if sending all that data to the cloud was feasible from a technical perspective, there are several reasons beyond performance or cost benefits to favor cloud-like data processing and infrastructure at the edge: First, edge computing makes centralisation and virtualisation easier. Second, due to confidentiality and security concerns, many customers don’t want their data to leave the premises.

In addition, it is more efficient to integrate powerful AI accelerators locally, and shorter distances to data processing reduce latency. A robust local cloud or edge IT infrastructure also enables full integration of OT (Operational Technology) and IT (Information Technology) instead of just connecting the OT with the IT. So, there is a lot to be said for operating a powerful cloud infrastructure directly at the edge instead of in a far-away data center. However, this infrastructure must be robust enough to function reliably even in harsh industrial environments with temperature fluctuations, vibrations and air pollution.

Siemens developed the SIMATIC IPC RS-828A high-performance edge server system precisely for such environments. Built in a universal 2U form factor and just 585 mm deep (overall dimensions WHD 585x88x449 mm), it is easy to install in standard 800 mm deep industrial control cabinets. The integrated high-performance cooling system with front inlet and easily replaceable filters allows operation in industrial environments with temperatures from +5°C to +45°C. Highly vibration, shock and EMC resistant, the system can be used near large electrically powered industrial equipment. It is designed for 24/7/365 continuous operation and can be powered by 230V AC. The power supply meets the highest 80 PLUS Titanium energy efficiency level.


Siemens deliberately opted for the AMD EPYC 9004 processor family to power the servers. Based on AMD’s super-efficient Zen4 technology, these processors are optimized for server and storage applications. With features like an independent security processor and a hardware-based TPM (Tamper-Proof-Module) for a secure root-of-trust, they meet the high security needs of edge and server environments. The EPYC Embedded processors also offer long-term availability and extended temperature range support.

Another key advantage of the EPYC design is AMD’s unique chiplet technology. This brings both technical and commercial benefits: Chiplets (individual chips or dies within a single package) enable stacking multiple chips on top of each other in the smallest space. Compared to a monolithic chip design within a package (with a limited number of external connections), this approach achieves significantly higher packing and wiring densities. In addition, it is possible to combine chips or chiplets of different technologies and functions in one package as needed.

It was this hybrid multi-chip SoC approach that enabled, among other things, the first x86 server processors in 7nm technology with significantly higher energy efficiency and memory access speeds (NUMA = Non-uniform Memory Access). As of today, chiplets are the only way to integrate truly complete systems in a single package. The chiplet design also eliminates the need for external chipsets or additional I/O chips (“bridges”), saving space and cost.

The internal Infinity Fabric architecture adds further advantages like high memory bandwidths and accelerated I/O performance – exactly what is needed to address the high requirements of server and storage applications. Ultimately, Siemens selected the EPYC 9004 family because it offers higher power density, more processing cores (up to 96 cores/192 threads), and significantly better energy efficiency (thanks to the Zen4 architecture in 5nm process technology) compared to competitors. With 12 super-fast DDR5 channels supporting 4800 MHz RAM, unprecedented memory bandwidths of up to 480 GB/s are theoretically attainable.

With up to 160 processor-supported PCI Gen5 lanes (in a dual-processor configuration), along with internal Infinity Fabric networking between each die, these servers enable an unmatched I/O throughput double that of the previous generation. To reduce the energy bill – which today constitutes the biggest cost factor in running a data center – more and more data centers around the world are adopting AMD-powered systems. What sets Siemens apart from most of its competitors here is that the company has decades of experience building and deploying rugged industrial PCs for harsh environments.

Rugged high-performance edge servers with full scalability The Siemens SIMATIC IPC RS-828A server is designed for reliable 24/7 operation at ambient temperatures of +5°C to +45°C. It can be equipped with up to two AMD EPYC 9004 processors, 6 TB RAM (24 DIMMs), and eight drives. The processors are widely scalable in terms of computing power (core count and maximum clock speed). Dual onboard 10 GB Ethernet ports ensure powerful and redundant network integration; fiber optic and additional Ethernet connections are possible through PCIe expansion cards. The system can accommodate up to seven such PCIe expansion cards, including two double-slot cards with a maximum power dissipation of 350 W, e.g., for AI or hardware simulation accelerators.

The compact design and integrated cooling system with air filter make it easy to combine multiple systems. This allows building hyperconverged infrastructures or data centers directly onsite in industrial environments. Supported operating systems include Windows Server, RedHat Linux, and VMware; IPMI and Redfish are supported for management. Future support for edge computing solutions like Siemens’ Industrial Edge will facilitate fast implementation of production requirements and enable centralised management and rollout of updates and new apps.

The combination of high-performance server capabilities and industrial PC ruggedness, along with Siemens’ experience, is unique in the market today. Key target groups are OEMs and their suppliers, who can use the solution to build production-site data centers or even complex production systems and/or consolidate and virtualise existing legacy systems. Other applications are found in discrete production and manufacturing environments (“self-organising factories”) and include driverless transport/logistics systems (AGV= Automated Guided Vehicle), process automation, simulation and test, as well as AI applications. Thanks to their high reliability and availability, the servers are also suitable for 5G and campus network infrastructures.