When AMD announces its 96Boards Enterprise Edition complaint server board, I could read quite a few complains because the board used a non-standard form-factor such as mini-ITX. The first version 96Boards Enterprise Edition specification has now been published, and the goods news is that there are two versions: the low cost ($199 to $399) “Standard version” with the new proprietary format, and likely more expensive “MicroATX version” that must complies with MicroATX v1.2 specs.
The minimum hardware requirements are listed as follows:
- Small form factor
- Standard EE version – 160 x 120mm
- microATX EE version – 244 x 244mm
- Design is SoC independent (targets 32 or 64 bit SoCs)
- 1GB RAM (16GB strongly recommended for server software development)
- Minimum on-board connectors and expansion I/O
- 1x Serial over USB UART with microUSB interface
- 2x USB
- 1x RJ45 Ethernet
- Standard version board power from low cost 12V DC Jack connector or standard 12V high power DIN connector
- microATX version board power from ATX power supply
- 1x 40 pin 96Boards 1.8V expansion interface header with UART, SPI, I2C &
- Standardized positions for PCIe connector(s), If implemented
These are just the minimum requirements, but most board are likely to feature extra SATA, networking or USB interfaces.
There are also some software support requirements, where support means binary and source code:
- Boot architecture (at least one open source implementation shall be available)
- Support for bootloader such as U-Boot/FDT, UEFI/ACPI, UEFI/FDT
- Support for a secure execution environment (optional)
- Support for ARM Trusted Firmware (ARMv8), including PSCI APIs (recommended)
- An unmodified kernel.org mainline, stable or long term (latest two releases) kernel. Note: Upstream mainline support is a 96Boards program goal
- A Linaro or vendor-supported kernel with additional patches against a kernel.org mainline, stable or long term (latest two releases) kernel
- Operating system – The latest released (stable) version of one or more of the following open source distributions shall be made available for a 96Boards EE compliant design:
- Red Hat
- A Linaro or vendor supported Linux using the OpenEmbedded/Yocto build system
- Other Operating Systems/Distributions – Other operating systems or distributions may be provided for a 96Boards product and can be made available to end users on the 96Boards community portal
There’s no royalty or license requirements for the specs, so anybody who wishes to do so could make 96boards compliant hardware. An optional “96Boards Certification Program” is also available in order to provide hardware
and software certification, and getting the board listed and supported via 96Boards website.
Thanks to miniNodes for the tip.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.