Intel makes tiny microservers a standard

By SiliconIndia   |   Friday, 30 October 2009, 02:47 Hrs   |    23 Comments
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Intel makes tiny microservers a standard
San Francisco: In September 2009, Intel launched its back-to-the-future idea of tiny 'microservers'. Now, the company plans to make the design into a standard others can use too.

"The chipmaker will offer its design specification to the Server System Infrastructure Forum by the end of the year. If the group's board votes its approval for the specification, group members may use the designs royalty-free, before the end of the year, it will happen," said Jason Waxman, General Manager of Intel's High-density Computing Group.

Waxman believes the servers will appeal to web site hosting companies that need a lot of servers for relatively low-traffic Web sites. "At most web sites hosting providers, do you know what the server does? Nothing. It just sits there, so a low power draw when idle is an important characteristic. But when that request to view the Web page does arrive, it must respond quickly," said Waxman.

The diminutive server consists of a single quad-core processor and four memory banks. Intel showed 16 microservers housed in an 8.75-inch tall chassis that supplies them all with power, cooling, and a network connection to the outside world. Along the bottom of the chassis is a bay with 16 'sleds' that each has a trio of 2.5-inch hard drives that directly connect to each microserver.

The present microserver uses a 1.86GHz quad-core processor, the 'Lynnfield' model of Intel's new 'Nehalem' generation. Its top power consumption is 45 watts, but early in 2010, Intel will release a dual-core 'Clarkdale' model that consumes only 30 watts when running flat-out.

That's at the top end, though. Intel's goal is for the entire microserver--which also includes memory and supporting chips - to idle at just 25 watts of power.

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