India reveals in-house ‘Rudra’ server designs • The Register

The Indian government has revealed a local server design that is unlikely to threaten high-tech pioneers, but (it hopes) will attract domestic buyers and manufacturers and help revive the domestic computer hardware industry.

The “Rudra” design is a two-socket server that can run Intel’s Cascade Lake Xeons. Machines come in 1U or 2U form factors, each half-width. A pair of GPUs can be fitted, as well as DDR4 RAM.

Cascade Lake emerged in 2019 and has since been replaced by the Ice Lake architecture launched in April 2021. Indian authorities know Rudra is behind schedule and have said that a new design capable of supporting four GPUs is already in the works. with a reveal slated for June 2022.

The National Supercomputing Mission designed the servers and certified them to run the Trinetra HPC interconnect that it previously developed. The mission is currently in talks with manufacturers as it wants to put 5,000 locally built Rudra machines into production.

Server builders aren’t hard to find, and many operate on a large scale. It is not clear what Rudra is proposing that India cannot find elsewhere. But the early days of Rudra design were more about politics than technology: In October 2020, India announced plans to favor local supercomputers with Indian technology. Rudra shows the mission is on track – but also a long way from being able to deliver the full stack envisioned at launch in 2020.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, Skills Development and Entrepreneurship, revealed that some progress towards India’s pursuit of its own microchips has also made progress. India is currently developing two low-spec RISC-V processors – named Shakti and Vega – and hopes that they will one day meet the nation’s needs and be used around the world. With the Shakti E-Class built on a 180nm process and operating between 75 MHz and 100 MHz, India is not yet a threat to the incumbent market leaders. Chandrasekhar announced that a national competition to improve local CPU technology has been reduced to ten finalists.

The minister also announced a National blockchain strategy [PDF] which calls for the establishment of a national blockchain platform that offers a sandbox that developers can use to test applications that could benefit from distributed ledger technology.

The strategy calls for the government to offer Blockchain-as-a-service to government within two years, and to broad use of Blockchain and its integration with clouds and the Internet of Things at the end of a phase of five-year initial development. The technology is considered to be the most applicable to e-government services, but also as having the potential to secure intellectual property and improve transactions in the Indian economy. ®

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