Server Selection for Virtual Protection Relays

Crystal Group provides rugged servers, displays, and embedded systems to some of the world’s most demanding customers. For more than two decades, they have delivered cost-effective and field-tested, edge computing solutions for all branches of the military and heavy industrial markets. They also provide the electric utility industry with servers that build upon a legacy of predictable performance in unpredictable environments.

The electric power industry is accelerating efforts to modernize critical power grid elements. The goal is to supply flexible power distribution stations with enhanced protection capabilities and fast Ethernet response at the feeder and substation levels that are IEC 61850 compliant. To address this market need, Crystal Group has developed the Energy Series (ES) line of servers and embedded computers. These compact, server-class, hyperconverged systems consolidate the work of multiple, discrete hardware solutions. They are equipped with essential features, like IEC 61850-3 surge suppression, real-time automation, remote management, cybersecurity, auto failover, and zero-trust security. These servers are ideal for the new virtual protection relay (VPR) architecture at the forefront of next-gen substation equipment.

Central to VPR architecture is a software-defined approach with virtualized functions hosted on edge servers within the harsh environment of an electric power substation. The VPR architecture enables critical power grid capabilities like constant monitoring, real-time alerts, automation, and remote management that allows power generation, transmission, and distribution to flow smoothly while being protected from both physical and cyber threats.

Virtualization enables real-time substation monitoring, system adjustments, and critical, on-demand updates to one or more sites from a centralized location, saving valuable resources and costs. This capability enables future systems to accommodate and control a more dynamic grid system, which delivers power to and from multiple sources.

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