by Manolis Marazakis and Stelios Louloudakis (ICS-FORTH)
The European cloud market is estimated to grow from EUR 32 billion to EUR 127 billion from 2020 to 2026, playing a key role in the European economic growth and social development. RISER will develop the first all-European RISC-V cloud server infrastructure, significantly enhancing Europe's strategic autonomy in open-source technologies.
Cloud technologies with an important growth and economic impact include multi-core accelerators and high-speed communication infrastructures, with an expected Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 24.7% from 2022 to 2027 . Cloud infrastructures are expected to serve more than 50 billion users by 2025. Europe clearly needs an advanced energy-efficient EU-based cloud solution driven by EU technology and infrastructures. Thus, the development and long-term evolution of general-purpose and accelerator processors, together with their associated set of hardware and systems software support components, has been widely recognised as a crucial element of open strategic autonomy for Europe . Expanding and validating open hardware interfaces, coupled with making available a fully featured operating system environment and runtime system, enables a pathway of innovation in several domains, including cloud services, which are so widely adopted that they have become an essential part of everyday life. All of the aspects described above, led to the conceptualisation of the RISER project [L1].
RISER will develop the first all-European RISC-V cloud server infrastructure, significantly enhancing Europe's strategic autonomy in open-source technologies.
RISER will leverage and validate open hardware high-speed interfaces combined with a fully featured operating system environment and runtime system, enabling the integration of low-power components, including RISC-V processor chips from the EPI [L2] and EUPILOT [L3] projects, in a novel energy-efficient cloud architecture. RISER brings together seven partners from industry and academia to jointly develop and validate open-source designs for standardised form-factor system platforms, suitable for supporting cloud services. Specifically, RISER will build two cloud-focused platforms:
- An accelerator platform, which includes the Arm RHEA SoC from EPI and a PCIe acceleration board to be developed within the project, which will integrate up to four RISC-V based chips from EUPILOT.
- A microserver platform, interconnecting up to ten microserver boards all developed by the project, each one supporting up to four RISC-V chips coupled with high-speed storage and networking. Embracing hyperconvergence, our microserver architecture allows for distributed storage and memory to be used by any processor in the system with low overhead. The open-source system board designs of RISER will be accompanied by open-source low-level firmware and systems software, and a representative Linux-based software stack to support cloud services, facilitating uptake and enhancing the commercialisation path of project results.
Three use cases will be developed to evaluate and demonstrate the capabilities of RISER platforms:
a) Acceleration of compute workloads
b) Networked object and key-value storage
c) Containerised execution as part of a provider-managed IaaS environment.
Figure 1: RISER Architecture logical layers.
Figure 2: System software for the two RISER platforms: accelerator interacting with host, and microserver with cloud software stack
RISER has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 101092993. The project is funded under the European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HaDEA) call on “Digital and emerging technologies for competitiveness and fit for the green deal” [L4].
 Data Center Accelerator Market by Processor Type (CPU, GPU, FPGA, ASIC), Type (HPC Data Center, Cloud Data Center), Application (Deep Learning Training, Public Cloud Interface, Enterprise Interface) and Region - Global Forecast to 2027 (Report by GlobeNewsWire Inc, November 2022).
 EU strategic autonomy 2013-2023: From concept to capacity (European Parliament briefing, July 2022).
Manolis Marazakis, ICS-FORTH, Greece
Stelios Louloudakis, ICS-FORTH, Greece