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Micro Servers Drive Network Opportunity
Simon Stanley | Analyst
Micro servers, specifically ARMv8 and low-power x86 cores, are providing new approaches for many applications.

The market is set to take off as numerous vendors introduce their new low-power servers.
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Low-Power Micro Server & Network Appliance Processors
Micro servers offer an alternative approach to traditional servers for many applications, including Web servers, cloud computing, the Internet of things (IoT) and software-defined networking (SDN)/network functions virtualization (NFV). Micro servers are typically small modules integrating processor and memory that plug into a 2U-5U chassis with shared power, cooling and management. Micro servers support higher densities, lower energy consumption and are more cost effective than discrete servers. The micro server approach can also be used for network appliances that integrate hardware or software for specific networking applications.

There are now multiple vendors with low-power processors that can be used in micro servers or network appliances. All of these venders have been in the processor business for a significant length of time and are making major investments into this market. Most are shifting to ARMv8 processors for micro servers and network appliances, creating a new ecosystem. Intel is committed to maximizing market share with x86 solutions, and Imagination Technologies is keen for vendors to look at MIPS for future developments.

The micro server market is set to take off with several systems already available and a growing range of processors from multiple vendors. The combination of low-power processors and shared resources should deliver cost-effective solutions that increase server density and reduce power consumption in data centers for many applications, including Web servers, cloud computing and IoT. With these systems service providers have the opportunity to choose the processors that meet their requirements. Although these systems do not provide a common platform, like ATCA or MicroTCA, vendor are providing multiple options for processor modules, storage and networking.

Server vendors are positioning these micro servers as a revolutionary alternative to conventional servers. The whole rationale for the micro server is delivering flexible performance for key applications using a platform that requires significantly less rack space, power and capital investment. The challenge for processor vendors is ensuring their solutions can support all relevant software and deliver system performance per Watt at a price that is competitive against other low-power server processors and high-performance server processors.

Low-Power Micro Server & Network Appliance Processors details and analyzes processor architectures and low-power processors for micro servers and network appliances from eight leading vendors, identifying the key requirements and highlighting the advantages they hold for equipment manufacturers and service providers. The report also reviews vendor strategies and surveys component features, performance and flexibility in this important market.

Sample research data from the report is shown in the excerpts below:
Table of Contents (cci1014_toc.pdf)
Micro servers are CPU modules that plug into rack mount chassis with shared management, power, cooling, networking and storage. Micro server systems, like blade server systems, offer higher densities, lower energy consumption and are usually more cost effective than discrete servers. Micro servers typically use processors with a thermal design power (TDP) of 10-45W and can be used for a wide range of applications, including Web servers, hosted desktops, cloud servers, big data and security. The following excerpt shows one example of a micro server system from Dell.
[click on the image above for the full excerpt]
Companies profiled in this report include: Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD); Applied Micro Circuits Corp. (Nasdaq: AMCC); ARM Ltd. (LSS: UK:ARM; Nasdaq: ARMH); Avago Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: AVGO); Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM); Cavium Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: CAVM); Freescale Semiconductor Inc. (NYSE: FSL); Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC); and Texas Instruments Inc. (NYSE: TXN).
Total pages: 17
JUNE 2014
COTS & ATCA: 2014 User Survey
This report analyzes the use of COTS platforms by telecom equipment vendors, with a focus on ATCA, based on the results of an exclusive worldwide survey. The survey results show that these platforms are widely used in many types of networking equipment, from the access edge to the network core.
READ SUMMARY
Including table of contents, executive summary, and financial metrics
FEBRUARY 2014
Switching Technology & Components for SDN
This report details and analyzes switch devices, embedded SDN software and innovative SDN switch systems identifying the key requirements and highlighting the advantages they hold for equipment manufacturers and service providers. The report also reviews vendor strategies and surveys component features, performance and flexibility in this important market.
READ SUMMARY
Including table of contents, executive summary, and financial metrics
DECEMBER 2013
DPI Vendors Deliver on Policy Management & Analytics
This report details and analyzes leading DPI, policy management and analytics system vendors, DPI and multicore processor vendors, and DPI and policy management software vendors. The report profiles 20 vendors in this important market, including a review of component architectures, identifying the key features and highlighting the advantages they hold for equipment manufacturers.
READ SUMMARY
Including table of contents, executive summary, and financial metrics
ANALYST
Simon Stanley
Simon writes the Components Insider , covering the latest developments in telecom silicon and subsystems.
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Simon Stanley
CONTACT AUTHOR
ANALYST
Tim Kridel
Tim writes for both Mobile Networks Insider and Cable Industry Insider. He has previously covered the wireless and cable industries for a number of research firms, including Heavy Reading.
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Tim Kridel
CONTACT AUTHOR
CONTRIBUTING ANALYST
Simon Sherrington
Simon is an independent consultant who contributes regularly to Heavy Reading Insider. He has 13 years of experience analyzing, reporting, and consulting on technology market trends.
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Simon Sherrington
CONTACT AUTHOR
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