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Atom-Based Low-Power Server Unveiled

Atom-Based Low-Power Server Unveiled

Server manufacturer SeaMicro has unveiled an internet-optimised x86 server which it claims could reduce power consumption and space requirements by 75 per cent.

The company argued that volume servers have failed to adapt to the new datacentre challenges of handling millions of relatively small, independent tasks, such as searching, social networking, browsing and checking email.

SeaMicro said that it has developed a new approach which focuses on power reduction outside the CPU, where two thirds of the power in a server is traditionally consumed.

The firm claims to have eliminated 90 per cent of the components from the motherboard, dramatically reducing non-CPU power draw and size.

SeaMicro's Dynamic Compute Allocation Technology, meanwhile, allows the server dynamically to allocate workloads to specific CPUs on the basis of power-use metrics, according to the company.

The SM10000 integrates 512 Intel Atom processors, which the firm claims is the "most efficient CPU for handling internet workloads" in the datacentre.

Giorgio Nebuloni, a senior research analyst at IDC, suggested that SeaMicro's announcement is confirmation of an industry-wide trend observed over the past two years, mainly in the US.

"This is the so called 'physicalisation' approach, an attempt by a number of hardware vendors to address specific, non-standard datacentre needs with ultra-low power and low-cost customised servers," he said.

Nebuloni added that the product is a very interesting value proposition for environments with a huge numbers of parallelised, non-virtualised workloads, but cannot support hypervisors and crucially "cannot even compete on raw power with the lowest-end of the 1-Socket x86 class".

"This is why these type of products are not in the standard portfolio of tier-one vendors, but are offered through solutions groups dedicated to mega-datacentre customers such as web and hosting providers," he said.

Nebuloni concluded that products such as the SM10000 are making an impact in the European market, but are not going to replace standard enterprise x86 servers "anytime soon".


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