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.