So what’s so special about NEBS servers anyway?  I occasionally hear some people say that strict compliance to NEBS-3 standards isn’t really needed anymore, and that companies can actually get by with something less (saving money in the process).  After all, why not find a lower-cost enterprise-class server that has been retrofitted to be “good enough” for NEBS installations?  I’ll call this the “soft NEBS” philosophy.


Well, this type of thinking may lead you to a false sense of security, especially if you are installing servers into a telco central office.  The fact is that telcos like Verizon and AT&T continue to drive increasingly strict requirements around NEBS (Network Equipment Building Systems) compliancy and other environmental standards for their mission-critical central offices.  Some of these new standards include Energy Efficiency Requirements for Telecom Industry (VZ.TPR.9205), Thermal Modeling Simulation and Test (TMST) Certification Program, and RoHS Lead-free PBA Qualification (VZ.TPR.9307).  In addition, the telcos are driving much needed cost savings in some very innovative ways, while keeping in mind that this must not come at the expense of not meeting the all necessary NEBS specifications—including fire suppression, thermal margin testing, vibration resistance, airflow patterns, acoustic limits, RF emissions, etc.


Though not an actual NEBS requirement, central offices also typically require server chassis that are no more than 20 inches in depth.  This is often required in order to achieve sufficient airflow and to meet minimum cable bend radius in the very space constrained rack environments of the central office.  However, I am amazed to see “soft” NEBS boxes coming on the market that are greater than 26 inches in depth.


Despite my above argument on why 20” NEBS servers continue to be so important in central offices, I am pleased to see a newer trend where NEBS-class servers are increasingly being used in other non-telco environments, whether that be in network data centers, in military communications infrastructure, or for medical imaging applications.  It is becoming apparent that these types of customers also value the ruggedness and reliability that is assured by strict NEBS-3 compliance.


Kontron has recently begun shipping the new CG2100 Carrier Grade Server, which is the industry’s latest state-of-the-art 2U NEBS server—the only one supporting Intel’s newest 6-core Xeon® 5600 processor and with freedom to choose your preferred hardware components and software.  In the grounds-up design of this server, special attention has been given to compliance to the latest NEBS-3 specs, 20” chassis depth, long lifecycle for maximum customer investment, and support of the Intel® Xeon® 5600 processor for leading performance and power efficiency.   In addition, Kontron takes all of its NEBS servers through actual NEBS testing at independent test labs, with formal test reports available to indicate the results. All are important in central office applications.  I encourage you to visit the CG2100 Carrier Grade Server product page on Kontron’s website to learn more details about this new server and how it can fit with your own application needs.  You can also get more information on how Kontron carrier grade servers can benefit you at the CRMS Technologies page.  Finally, let me know how I can help!


Believe me, there is no such thing as a soft NEBS standard, so please don’t get soft with someone else’s server either.


By the way, Kontron is a gold sponsor at the Verizon NEBS 2010 Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona on October 6-7, 2010.  We will be showcasing the CG2100 server in the Kontron exhibit area.  Come and visit us if you get the chance, while also learning more about the latest in NEBS-related technologies and trends from Verizon, AT&T, UL, and other industry leaders.



Keith Taylor

Product Manager, Communications Rack Mount Servers