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Dell’s Got the First 22nm Microservers

Dell figures it can deliver maybe 49% more performance per rack over its previous generation of Xeon E3 microservers

Dell has turned up with the very first cloud-directed microservers using Xeon processors built on Intel's teeny-weeny 22nm process with sexy TriGate transistors.

It will be amusing to see if AMD sends its recent SeaMicro microserver acquisition, which used to be tight with Intel, out to buy the same chips on the open market while it retools for some AMD dingus.

AMD did say SeaMicro would continue its Xeon line.

Intel is also warding off promised server competition from ARM. ARM server start-up Calxeda is supposed to be about a month away from beta testing its boxes.

Anyway, Dell has stuffed the new Ivy Bridge Xeon E3-1200 v2 processors into a single-socket PowerEdge-C5220 line it will trot out May 22, a week after the chips debut.

The machines are meant for dense, custom, hyperscale environments and will start at an amusing $12 207.84.

The chips, which will only draw 17W or 45W - although there are also models that go up to 87W, have server-class features such as ECC, VT-x virtualization, 64-bit memory and computing and HyperThreading as well as operating system support from Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows HPC Server 2008 R2, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.1 and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP1.

Dell figures it can deliver maybe 49% more performance per rack over its previous generation of Xeon E3 microservers. It also says it can get up to 50% more density and 50% more users with the new Ivy Bridge, but it's still unclear what it can stuff in a rack or what the power demands will really be. Supposedly it's talking 12 nodes per 3U, up from eight nodes.

With a faster processor and higher density it should realize 95% better total performance in the same rack and there should be fast data access with DDR3-1600 memory speeds to help improve performance for data bandwidth-sensitive applications.

The 17W part is expected to be dual-core and the 45W quad-core.

The widgets are being pitched to cloud deployments, business-critical Web 2.0, HPC and content delivery networks. Dell said Vibrant Media and MorphLabs are using the stuff; Morphlabs for its private cloud.

It says the widgetry offers "hardware-level isolation for private clouds that can then be clustered together to form a highly-resilient platform necessary for mission critical workloads."

Intel expects microservers to capture 10% of the overall server market by 2015. Their current penetration is said to be 1%-2%. Intel means to own the category.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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