Micro-Data Center Design Challenge

Welcome to Inveneo’s Micro-Data Center Design Challenge! Do you thrive on finding effective ICT solutions that will help people around the world? Would you like to be part of an innovative design for the next generation of green server technology powered by solar energy? Then this design challenge for YOU.
Enter today and you and your team could win the top prize of $10,000!

Inveneo is leading a competition to design a solar-powered micro-data center to be deployed in emerging regions of the world. This proof-of-concept design will establish the feasibility of building ultra energy efficient micro-data centers even in the harshest of environmental conditions. Ultra-efficient micro-data centers present the potential to push computing to the edge of the network across the developing world. The center will serve as a model that can be replicated in other parts of the world.

Inveneo has partnered with ARM Limited and Protocase to host this design challenge. In addition, Inveneo is partnering with LeMaker.org to make the challenge possible to universities and companies in China and Hong Kong.


The Challenge:

To design a solar powered micro-data center that is able to withstand harsh environments including heat, dust, and humidity. Using exclusively ARM architecture, the focus on the design is the micro-data center chassis. This chassis will house 15 micro-computer boards, 10 solid state drives, one gigabit Ethernet switch, Li-Ion batteries, and a DC power system. The design will be passively cooled, so there is no fan to clog with dirt, dust, or bugs. It should also be functional in intense heat and humidity without any access to modern air conditioning. As opposed to a “bigger is better” Westernized view of the modern data center, we are looking for entirely new server architecture that is optimized to function without grid electricity and is small and easily connected to the edge of any network. Hence the power input should be 12 or 24 volt Direct Current.

The submitted designs will be judged by a panel of ICT industry experts, and the winning design will be put into action on a remote Pacific island. The aim of this challenge is to not only generate new and creative ultra-efficient micro-data centers using ARM architecture but also to enable interested parties to implement educational resource hubs for communities, remote schools, educators, and students. The design will also be used for collection of climate change data in the field and other key sensor type of remote projects.

Be sure to check out the 15 Banana Pro design kit from LeMaker that’s available to competing teams at a reduced cost!


How to Apply:

1. Fill out and submit online the signup form which can be found here.

2. You and your team leader will receive a confirmation email from Inveneo’s competition manager. Once your team receives confirmation and approval you may begin creating your design that will be submitted.

3. Email the following to Jana Melpolder by June 10th, 2015 at midnight PDT:

      • Design Outline (1 page)
      • Budget Outline (1 page)
      • Directions on how to implement your design (3 pages)
      • Photos or links of the equipment that will be needed
      • Letter to the Judge Panel that describes why your design is effective and efficient (2 pages)


The Rules:

Some general rules do apply. The contest’s rules are as follows:

1) The contest is open to applicants at least 18 years of age.

2) The contest is open to teams, not individuals.

3) Each team must be made up of no less than three (3) people and no more than seven (7) people.

4) It is recommended that the team members have a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering or the sciences. However, this is not a requirement. Teams will be allowed to have a mentor that will assist the team in designing the project.

5) Individual team members may have a variety of different backgrounds and teams are advised to include innovative and dynamic members. If, however, you think you have an awesome idea and but you do not fit within these parameters, please contact us.


The Device Specifications:

Using exclusively ARM architecture, the device must be able to function in a hot, humid, and rainy climate. The datacenter must have five central components in a chassis design, which are

(1) a direct current power system

(2) an energy storage system i.e. a battery

(3) racking for 15 micro-computer boards

(4) racking for 10 solid state drives

(5) gigabit switch

The rest is up to you! The submitted designs will be judged on their feasibility, cost, and impact by our panel of industry experts.


The Judging Process:

The panel of judges will look over all the teams’ designs. A final decision will be made in early July 2015, and top two winning teams will be announced on July 15th, 2015.

Please note: Inveneo plans to open-source the hardware design of the micro-data center chassis.


The Grand Prize:

The winning team will receive $10,000 and have their design published on the Inveneo, ICTworks, and ARM websites.

The second place team will receive several Google Nexus 7 Tablets; there will be one tablet given for each member of the team.


Useful Resources