Intel Partners To Sing The Praises Of Microservers

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At IDF, Intel, Dell and SeaMicro were pushing the low-power microserver as a space-saver for point applications

Intel is into small things. At the Intel Developer Forum (IDF), ultrabooks figured strongly and, in the data centre space, microservers were highlighted at a co-presentation between Intel, SeaMicro and Dell.

Intel reckons these small, energy-efficient units will account for 10 percent of the current Xeon market by 2016. In some ways, the microserver marks a reversion to the days before virtualisation. Once again we are seeing dedicated servers for less-demanding applications such as basic content delivery such as file/print, low-end dedicated hosting, as a small email server or for software as a service (SaaS) support.

Low Power, Greener Data Centres

Current microservers work on considerably less power than standard servers and only occupy a fraction of the rack space. At IDF, Naveen Bohra, a product marketing engineer at Intel, showed a processor roadmap revealing that the current XeonE3-1260L (45W) and E3-1220L (20W) will be joined next month by a 15W processor, named by Bohra as the Pentium Processor 350 which will be an Atom-based chip with a Sandy Bridge architecture.

In 2012, the bar will be lowered to 10W or less with a new, as yet unnamed, server chip. Bohra did not elaborate on features of this chip.

The microserver area is attracting established and new companies, apart from the three presenters of the talk. Tyan, Quanta, and Supermicro were also featured in the presentation slides.

Dell is forming a close relationship with SeaMicro, with Dell recently announcing it would become a reseller of the SeaMicro SM10000 family of microservers.

Andrew Feldman, CEO of SeaMicro, said, “We designed the SM10000 family to transform the economics of the data centre. Our customers told us that power and space were their primary concerns – often consuming up to 75 percent of operating expense. We responded by building a server family that reduces power consumption by 75 percent and takes one-sixth the space.”

At IDF, Intel announced that it has formed the Micro Server Evaluation Lab. Currently equipped with SeaMicro SM10000-64 (pictured above) and Dell PowerEdge C5220 servers, the lab has been opened to help developers test their own software on Intel-based microservers and analyse the potential benefits of various distributed, high density computing options.

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