New Server Uses 75% Less Power and Space

Posted on June 14, 2010  Comments (1)

SeaMicro drops an atom bomb on the server industry

[SeaMicro] has created a server with 512 Intel Atom chips that gets supercomputer performance but uses 75 percent less power and space than current servers.

Today’s servers are so inefficient when it comes to being properly utilized,” Feldman said. “This misalignment between the server and the work load is the root of the power consumption problem.”

So SeaMicro guessed that servers could benefit instead by using lots of smaller processors, and it got lucky when Intel started promoting its low-power, low-cost Atom chip for netbooks. That lowered power consumption, since Atom processors deliver three times the performance per watt versus Intel’s server chips.

But SeaMicro also attacked the power consumption in the rest of the system, which accounts for about two thirds of the power consumed by a server.

it applied the concept of virtualization to the inside of a server. Feldman designed custom chips that could take the tasks that were handled by everything beyond the Intel microprocessor and its chip set. The custom chips virtualize all of those other components so that it finds the resource when it’s needed. It essentially tricks the microprocessor into thinking that the rest of the system is there when it needs it.

SeaMicro virtualized a lot of functions that took up a lot of space inside each server in a rack. It also did the same with functions such as storage, networking, server management and load balancing. Full told, SeaMicro eliminates 90 percent of the components from a system board. SeaMicro calls this CPU/IO virtualization. With it, SeaMicro shrinks the size of the system board from a pizza box to the size of a credit card.

This advance is coming just in time. Google said recently that if current power trends continue, the cost of energy consumed by a server during its three-year life span could surpass the initial purchase cost for the hardware. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that volume servers consume more than 1 percent of the total electricity in the US—representing billions of dollars in wasted operating expense each year.

Related: Google Server Hardware DesignData Center Energy NeedsGoogle Uses Only Outside Air to Cool Data Center in Belgium

One Response to “New Server Uses 75% Less Power and Space”

  1. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Saving Energy with Smart Software
    June 28th, 2010 @ 9:28 am

    […] New Server Uses 75% Less Power and Space – Cost of Powering Your PC – Data Center Energy Needs by curiouscat   Tags: […]

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