Rick’s Reflections – July

By April 2nd, 2019 Uncategorized

Rick’s Reflections


Our first “design win” was with SPAWAR. The solution involved Sun Microsystems products.  As the word spread of our accomplishments within “Sun Federal” (SUNFED), they referred us into additional opportunities.

The SPAWAR opportunity was related to radar installations on the US West Coast. The objective was to track anything incoming across the Pacific Ocean at a certain height above the water and/or water wave levels. They wanted to take advantage of an older Sun technology SPARCserver 390. The chassis for the system was quite large and heavy. The system itself was divided into two bays. One side had the processing/connectivity and some data storage, the other side was all data storage. Drives were quite bulky back then, the system supported 2.1 GB drives which were 5.25 inches square and 14 inches long. The storage bay could handle four or eight drives.  The 2.1 GB drives at the time sold for $4,600 each. Keep in mind that today you can get a 16 GB thumb drive (8 times more data) for as little as $5.

SPAWAR did not need the storage bay, thus wanted us to effectively cut the system in half. That was quite a challenge; it involved taking off a side panel removing the storage bays, redesigning the systems cabling harnesses, connectors, a new back panel and moving/removing excess power supplies. Then the side panel was reattached. Plus is had to meet MIL-SPEC requirements related to vibration, power distribution and thermals.

We had lots of support from Sun, SPAWAR engineers and other partners. We got it done and it performed flawlessly. RAVE was now spec’d into our first Defense program. We had earned the capability/reputation as a custom system Defense contractor. We continue to sell “purpose built” systems to this day.

A follow up opportunity was to take what were desktop systems and rackmount them into cabinets. They also had to meet MIL-SPEC requirements. The design spec/solution not only allowed RAVE to get spec’d into another program, it turned into a bigger overall market opportunity. I estimate that RAVE ultimately sold over 10 thousand systems that were variations of that original requirement.

I could give hundreds of examples of requirements that we have received and filled for “purpose built” systems. A recent example was to create what we call the MOBILBEAST VR. The requirement was for a virtual reality based portable solution to be used for simulated training. RAVE designed a small form factor system with 22 cores and an integrated graphics processing unit. It is capable of detailed, real time, high speed rendering and is integrated with a head mounted display, into a ruggedized carrying case. Our solution exceeded the original requirements.

Today, RAVE is spec’d into dozens of Defense related programs and sells to well over 100 Defense contractors per year.  Defense business is responsible for more than half of our annual revenue.