Atom Micro-Servers Greening Data Centers Share your comment!


The next-generation of data-centers will profit from growing competition among multi-core processor makers, all of which are aiming for the low-power crown. At stake is a vast emerging market for cloud-based micro-servers designed to turn distributed data-centers into shining examples of green energy efficiency.

As a result, Intel will have to compete with startups claiming very low power specifications for their next-generation processors. To stay ahead, Intel plans an aggressive migration of its 64-bit x86 code base to the 3-D tri-gate finFET 22- and 14-nanometer process technologies its competition will be hard-pressed to match.

“A single code base now spans from Intel’s Atom to its largest Xeon processor,” explains Jim Totton, vice president and general manager of platforms at Red Hat. “Enterprises looking for a cloud platform, now have more options to maximize the power efficiency and density of their data centers without costly code modifications.” 

 Intel’s evolving both Xeon E3 and Atom processors down parallel paths to 22-nanometer sizes in 2013, called the Xeon “Haswell” and the Avoton “Silvermont”. Both will ride the wave of Intel’s 3-D tri-gate ultra-low-power process down to 14-nanometer dimensions by 2014. SOURCE: Intel

Up Next: 22 Nanometer, Five Watts

Intel’s Xeon processors already command a lion’s share of the server market, but to boost its presence in next-generation micro-servers Intel has put its low-power Atom on the same fast-track roadmap as the Xeon.

Next year, Intel plans to downsize to 22-nanometer its current 32-nanometer Atom processor–the “Centerton” series powering Hewlett Packard’s Moonshot micro-server code-named “Gemini“. 

To be delivered in 2013, this 22-nanometer Atom system-on-chip (SoC) called the Avoton (code-named “Silvermont”) makes use of the same semiconductor process as the next-generation Xeon E3 (code-named “Haswell”). Together, both the high-performance Xeon E3 and the low-power Atom Avoton processors will ride the wave of Intel’s 3-D tri-gate finFET semiconductor process down to 14-nanometer dimensions by 2014.

The current Atom S1200 runs on just six watts with dual cores and four hyperthreads; ,the 22-nanometer Avoton version of Atom due out in 2013 will have up to eight cores and cut power consumption down to as low as five watts. Both include on-chip hardware support for virtualization, integrated interfaces from Intel’s other chipsets and reliability functions like error-correction.

Intel currently counts over 20 design wins for micro-servers, storage subsystems and networking devices using its ultra-low-power Atom S1200–including Accusys, Dell,  HP, Huawei, Inspur, Microsan, Qsan, Quanta, Supermicro and Wiwynn.

Posted on December 26, 2012 by R. Colin Johnson, Geeknet Contributing Editor