The Benefits of Customizable Hardware Platforms for Application Deployment
February 22, 2023 — Liz MolliHead of Communications
As an alternative to custom hardware solutions, developers of complex technology can deploy their applications on customizable servers instead. Whether the form factor is an embedded system or purpose-built appliance, customizable servers support pre-certified components choices and help get solutions to market faster.
What is customizable server hardware and how does it differ from off-the-shelf or custom servers?
Customizable servers come in many form factors, for example, from small embedded systems in portable medical diagnostic machines to powerful rackmount servers for aerospace flight simulation, and everything in between. It’s a type of server that allows a hardware engineer to pinpoint specific hardware components that meet an application’s performance and environmental needs.
This type of server is different from off-the-shelf or fully-custom servers. Compared to traditional off-the-shelf servers, it provides more flexibility and scalability when it comes to the component choices for meeting the application’s needs, such as processors, memory, storage and networking components. It’s different from custom (aka purpose-built) servers because they’re more efficient to design and produce, potentially shaving years off the product development cycle.
The beauty of a customizable server is that the design engineer is not spec’ing the system from the ground up. And depending on the components selected, these solutions can have extended lifecycles and avoid lengthy certification processes, additional costs or delays.
The Advantages of Using a Customizable Server Solution
While there are many, the greatest advantage is having the ability to customize key components to optimize the server for an application’s specific workloads and performance requirements. Additionally, customizable servers can be more cost-effective than traditional servers since they can be tailored to fit cost parameters, thereby providing better performance to price. (We’ve lost count of how many times companies have asked us to re-engineer their over-spec’d and overpriced servers!)
What Other Factors Should Be Considered When Choosing a Customizable Server?
There are several factors to consider when selecting the right base hardware and components, especially for companies that sell globally, to avoid the additional time and cost of external testing for hardware certifications that can interfere with time to market goals.
Like any other computer or electronic device, there are industry standards that server hardware needs to meet to ensure safety, performance and reliability. Many base servers and key components meet the certification requirements and don’t need to go through a certification testing process. Whenever possible, your engineer should design your server platform with pre-certified components. Watch out: sometimes adding just one specialty component may void the server certification all together, requiring the entire system to go through certification testing.
Also, regulatory requirements vary by industry, country or region in which the server will be used. For example, medical device systems need to meet specific regulatory requirements that data center servers don’t require. Finally, testing costs should also be taken into account as they can add up quickly if multiple certifications are required.
Choosing the Right Vendor for Your Customizable Server Needs
There are dozens of companies that design and build server hardware in the OEM space, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Generally speaking, the multi-billion dollar providers focus on large-scale run rate business, meaning they cater to tech companies building thousands of the same product at one time and their processes are not set up for custom or customizable business. On the other end of the spectrum, there are small builders that will typically build to order, which enables customization but results in slower production and potential quality issues due to the many human touches required to complete the systems.
Ideally, find a partner that specializes in more complex configurations with an impressive track record, strong industry partnerships, and production processes built upon a technology backbone to ensure predictability, timeliness and quality. Over the past three decades, MBX Systems has built itself into the most technologically advanced OEM hardware partner, with 99.6% quality metrics and 99.1% on time delivery, and specializes in engineering customizable hardware platforms with industry-leading components to get your products to market quickly.
Unlock the power of customizable server hardware today to maximize ROI and efficiency for your product deployments – Contact MBX today!
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