The long-term project of development and release of the Russian server processor Baikal-S can be considered practically completed. The chip designers received the first engineering batch of new products from production. An engineering board has already been created for them. The first large-scale multi-thousandth batch of processors is expected before the end of Q3. 2022 g.
As it became known to CNews, the first engineering batch of domestic server processors from the Baikal line – Baikal-S – came to Russia from the TSMC contract factory. As explained to the editorial staff in “Baikal Electronics” (the developer of these chips), the circulation of the batch was 400 pieces. In February-March 2022, another 1000 processors will cross the border. A full-fledged industrial batch of chips of 12-14 thousand pieces is expected by the end of the III quarter. 2022; the order for its release will be formed in December 2021.
The processor was designed using a 16-nanometer process technology, has 48 ARM Cortex-A75 cores, six channels of DDR4 3200 MHz memory – up to 768 GB per socket (128 GB per channel), cache memory: L1 – 64 KB instruction cache and data cache, L2 – 512 KB per core, L3 – 2 MB per cluster, L4: 32 MB.
The chip’s interconnect includes three CCIX x16 interfaces; each lane operates at 16 Gbps. The set of I / O interfaces consists of 80 PCIe Gen 4.0 lanes (48 lanes common to the CCIX interface), two 1Gbit Ethernet RGMII lanes and one USB 2.0 ULPI.
The processor clock frequency is up to 2.2 GHz, the power consumption is 120 W, the operating temperature range is from 0 to 70 degrees Celsius, the performance on the standard Linpack supercomputer test is declared at 358 Gflops.
The first batch of Baikal-S processors arrived in Russia
Baikal Electronics calls the new product the first Russian server processor with support for hardware virtualization (the competitors have only container processor). The intended scope of the chip: servers, storage systems, hyperconverged and supercomputer systems.
The estimated price of one Baikal-S is $ 3,000.
Engineering boards are ready
The first engineering boards to launch Baikal-S are ready. They were released by the Zelenograd manufacturer of computers and telecommunications equipment “Rutek”. The direct developer of engineering boards was the company “Gaodi Rus” – a Russian independent development center and contract manufacturer of electronics. Since 2021, the company is part of the international Dannie Group.
The board has one processor socket for Baikal-S, six channels of DDR4 memory and 12 slots for memory modules that support operation up to DDR4-3200 speeds, as well as a size of up to a module of 128 GB.
The board contains five PCIe Gen 4 interfaces with all types of configurations for testing all operating modes (14 connectors in total), USB, UART, JTAG, GPIO, I2C / SMBus2 interfaces, control and test signal lines, an integrated control controller based on the STM32 family microcontroller … There is an indication of the operating modes of the board and the status of power domains in the form of LED-LEDs.
According to the Baikal-S developers, in December 2021 the Russian Alt Linux OS will be adapted for it. Porting of Astra Linux and “Red OS” is scheduled for April 2022.
Baikal-S software ecosystem (Source: Baikal Electronics)
The difficult fate of Baikal-S
The Baikal-S ARM server processor has been developed since October 2016, when Baikal Electronics, following the results of the thematic competition of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, signed an agreement with the Ministry to provide the company with a subsidy in the amount of 1.2 billion rubles. The total cost of the project was registered at the level of 2.49 billion rubles. – that is, 1.29 billion rubles. the developer himself had to invest in it.
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The completion date of the project was originally set on November 30, 2019.The company was engaged in its implementation under the previous leadership in the person of the CEO Mikhail Makhson (took office in November 2016) and under the previous owners of the organization, which were replaced only at the end of 2020 by the Warton group. In parallel, Baikal Electronics was developing its Baikal-M mobile processor using a similar scheme, but within a shorter deadline, with a subsidy of 1.1 billion rubles. and investing its own funds in 1.2 billion rubles.
By mid-May 2019, it became obvious to CNews that the creation of both processors was overdue for many months and even years, and the company was threatened with huge sanctions from the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Then Mahson left the company. But at the same time, the facts collected by the editorial board regarding the developments formed a very unflattering picture for Makhson of the inefficiency of his work, which became the reason for his lawsuit to protect his business reputation – personally against CNews and the author of the materials. The complaint was filed by him personally (not on behalf of the company); the amount of claims amounted to 1 million rubles. During the trial, Mahson reached the Supreme Soda, but was defeated in all instances.
As a result, Baikal-M was presented by the company to the market in October 2019. For an approximately one year delay in development, the Ministry of Industry and Trade was forced on August 18, 2020 to file a 500 millionth penalty claim against the company in the Moscow Arbitration Court. In February 2021, the ministry was denied the claim. The officials did not dispute the decision of the court.
Based on the totality of the facts, it can be argued that the Ministry of Industry and Trade is quite loyal to Baikal Electronics. If the ministry had taken a tougher position, then, in addition to fines through the courts, it could have demanded from the company a full return of previously issued subsidies, breaking the contracts.
The officials decided to do otherwise. As CNews reported in early October 2020, at that time the director of the department of the radio-electronic industry, and now the deputy head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade Vasily Shpak, the ministry does not plan to break any of the contracts. “The results have been achieved, just in the wrong time frame,” he said.
Thus, in the future, “Baikal Electronics” in the line of releasing a new server project should also expect a natural multimillion-dollar lawsuit. However, it is highly likely that the logic of the court’s decision-making will be similar to the first trial, and the company will not suffer financially.