They may not be perfect for every situation, but use less electricity and take up less space than many other options.
It is a 6-watt server, called the Atom processor S1200, and has two cores. It’s a 64-bit server-class system-on-chip (SoC) for high-density microservers.
This compares to 17 watts or more in Intel’s Xeon server chip.
"The data center continues to evolve into unique segments and Intel continues to be a leader in these transitions," Diane Bryant, vice president and general manager of the data center and Connected Systems Group at Intel, said in a company statement carried on TMCnet. "We recognized several years ago the need for a new breed of high-density, energy-efficient servers and other datacenter equipment. Today, we are delivering the industry's only 6-watt SoC that has key data center features, continuing our commitment to help lead these segments."
It is seen as an option to the 40- and 95-watt servers often found in data centers, according to Information Week. The other servers tend to use up much more electricity.
“The new lightweight, micro-module servers, as opposed to tower, rack-mount or even blade servers, run cooler and are more compact,” InformationWeek added. “Greater numbers can be packed in a rack and several servers can share a cooling fan, instead of each unit needing its own direct airflow.”
HP, Dell (News - Alert), Accusys, Huawei, Quanta, Supermicro, CETC, Inspur, Microsan and Qsan use the chip in designs. Some 20 products are being designed with the Atom S1200. Prices start at $54 in quantities of 1,000 units.
"Organizations supporting hyperscale workloads need powerful servers to maximize efficiency and realize radical space, cost and energy savings," Paul Santeler, vice president and general manager, Hyperscale Business Unit, Industry-standard Servers and Software at HP, said in the statement. "HP servers power many of those organizations, and the Intel Atom processor S1200 will be instrumental as we develop the next wave of application-defined computing to dramatically reduce cost and energy use for our customers."
In addition, cloud computing suppliers who want efficient data centers may look to Atom for their cloud construction, news reports said.
However, the microserver is not suited to high-performance computing, financial services, virtualized infrastructure, mission-critical computing and databases.
“Some server manufacturers, such as Dell and HP, have begun to produce microservers based on the competing ARM architecture,” Information Week said. “ARM designs produce low-power chips used in smartphones and mobile devices.”
The need for Atom comes as data centers seek efficiency and high scalability – as social media generates more data.
For instance, Facebook (News - Alert) has more than one billion members. There are more than 4.5 billion likes, posts, comments and photos posted per day at the company, according to Frank Frankovsky, vice president of hardware design and supply chain at Facebook.
With the S1200 products, Frankovsky hopes there will be lower power use and lower prices. “It's all about useful work per watt per dollar," Frankovsky told ZDNet.
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