The popularity of Open source software has brought about impressive successes in the SaaS space, where useful products can be rapidly created from open source components. We see cloud providers and users looking at building their servers using open source hardware as well. This is where Antmicro steps in. Antmicro has been supporting companies like Google, in creating useful server-facing open source hardware such as Scalenode or ARVSOM. One of these projects with Google is an open source hardware FPGA-based Baseboard Management Controller (BMC) platform compliant with the new DC-SCM specification to help increase the security, configurability and flexibility of server management and monitoring infrastructure, which has been adopted by the LibreBMC workgroup as the base hardware platform.
Developed by the Open Compute Project, the Datacenter-ready Secure Control Module (DC-SCM) is designed to move common server management, security and control features from a typical motherboard into a module designed in one of the two form factors featured in the specification (Horizontal or Vertical), which can be used across various datacenter platforms. This spec will enable leading players in the industry share costs, risks and increase reuse. Speaking about the benefit of the DC-SCM, the company says:
Coupled with a fully open source implementation based on our open source FPGA-based modules, it has a chance to redefine the way board management is done. Basing the module on popular, inexpensive FPGA platforms will not only allow for more configurability and a tighter integration between hardware and software, but also tap into the momentum behind the broader open source hardware community via groups like CHIPS Alliance, OpenPOWER and RISC-V.
The company developed two implementations of the DC-SCM-compatible BMC, with both designs meeting the Open Compute Project specification for a Horizontal Form Factor 90×120 mm DC-SCM. The BMC is designed to monitor the system, prevent and mitigate failures, and act as an external watchdog. The module enables a feature-packed Secure Control Interface for communication with the host platform, including:
- PCI Express
- multiple I2C, I3C and UART channels.