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Compact, Linux-driven edge server supports Nvidia T4 GPUs

May 23, 2019 — by Eric Brown 1,407 views

Atos’ suitcase-sized “BullSequana Edge” server runs Linux on a 6th Gen Xeon-D and supports AI edge processing via optional Nvidia T4 GPUs and FPGAs. Other specs include SATA, USB 3.0, GbE, and optional 10GbE, WiFi, 3G/4G, and LoRa.

Establishing our scope of coverage on the low end is pretty easy — aside from the occasional new Arduino board, we tend to limit our coverage to embedded devices that run Linux. Yet, on the high end, where Linux runs on just about everything and edge computing is the latest craze, it’s increasingly difficult to draw lines between servers and high-end embedded gear. Size matters in this delineation, which is one reason why we’re covering Atos’ suitcase-sized, Linux-driven BullSequana Edge.

BullSequana Edge

In addition to offering a 16-core Intel Xeon D, the new edge server provides optional Nvidia T4 GPUs and FPGAs to support real-time edge-AI applications. The computer is Microsoft Azure Certified for IoT and offers an optional Atos Edge Data Container (EDC) application. Other optional software includes Atos Edge Computer Vision and Atos Edge Data Analytics.


The BullSequana Edge is designed for computer vision and predictive data analytics applications in which fast response times are critical, including “manufacturing 4.0, autonomous vehicles, healthcare and retail/airport security,” says France-based Atos. Other applications are said to include “open source based hyperconverged infrastructure solutions which enable flexible resource sharing between nodes, centralized management and security hardening.”

The system supports streaming analytics solutions such as Spark and Kafka. With the optional Nvidia T4 GPUs, the server can run accelerated machine learning algorithms enabled by frameworks such as RAPIDS.

BullSequana Edge with wall mounting
(click images to enlarge)

As with other edge servers, the idea is to reduce latency and lower communications costs by bringing server-like cloud processing closer to the devices being controlled and monitored. As a bonus, the system can operate autonomously if the cloud connection is severed.

BullSequana Edge hardware details

The 430 x 290 x 86mm system is larger than most of the systems covered in LinuxGizmos but it’s downright petite by server standards. It can operate on the desktop or be configured with an optional DIN-rail kit or 19-inch 2U rack mount kit. As shown in the images above, a wall-mount kit is also available, and other images show the servers being stacked. The system’s 5 to 45°C tolerance would be considered a “commercial” range in the embedded world but is wider than that of many servers.

The BullSequana Edge runs Linux on an Intel Xeon D-2187N from the 6th Gen Skylake family. The 16-core, 32-thread processor runs at 2GHz (3GHz Turbo) with a 22MB cache and 110W TDP.

BullSequana Edge

Dual PCIe Gen3 x16 slots are available for up to 2x Tesla T4 cards with advanced graphics and CUDA-driven AI capabilities. The same slots appear to support the up to 2x 75W FPGAs or single 150W FPGAs listed by Atos. No details were provided on the FPGA options.

Four RAM slots support up to 512GB of “RDIMM & LR-DIMM 2666MT/s.” Dual SATA slots are available for SSDs and HDDs.

For communications, you get 2x Gigabit Ethernet ports and 2x optional 10GbE SFP+ ports. There’s also a GbE port dedicated to the open source, Ubuntu Linux-based OpenBMC management distribution with RedFish support. You can optionally add a WiFi radio to BMC duty. In addition, dual mini-PCIe slots can be fitted with optional, LoRaWAN, 3G/4G radio, and dual-band WiFi cards.

The BullSequana Edge is further equipped with 2x USB 3.0 ports and a 100-240V power supply. Security features include an intrusion detection switch and TPM 2.0, as well as optional secure boot, disk encryption, and Intel QAT IPSEC acceleration.

Further information

The BullSequana Edge is available at an undisclosed price. More information may be found in the Atos BullSequana Edge announcement and product page.

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One response to “Compact, Linux-driven edge server supports Nvidia T4 GPUs”

  1. Henry Carter says:

    Very interesting review, conveyed the message perfectly. Utilizing the hyperconverged infrastructure at its best.

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