Feeds

Super Micro says MicroClouds will rain down in July

Packs them in for micro server preview

The essential guide to IT transformation

Motherboard and whitebox server maker Super Micro is showing off its first entry into the so-called micro server segment, called the MicroCloud, at the Computex 2011 trade show in Taipei, Taiwan this week. The company had been hinting back in April that the MicroClouds were in the works.

The MicroCloud machines, like a number of micro server designs that are rolling out this year, are based on Intel's new "Sandy Bridge-DT" Xeon E3-1200 processors, which launched in March. The Xeon E3 processors are designed for single-socket machines, and using Intel's "Bromolow" platform have four DDR3 memory slots per processor socket. They also have somewhat limited I/O expansion compared to the uniprocessor and two-socket "Romley" platforms based on the "Sandy Bridge-EN" processors – to be launched in the third quarter as the Xeon E5s if rumor has it right.

There are a number of ways to create a micro server, and one of them is to make a tray server that slides into a chassis, either in a vertical row as most blade servers do, or horizontally, three side-by-side, in a chassis. The thing about micro servers is that they are designed for relatively lightweight workloads, do not require a lot of CPU or memory, and are usually inherently parallel workloads where each node in a cluster is not particularly important to the overall processing being done in the cluster. Because the software stack includes data replication and workload balancing across hundreds or thousands of nodes and usually with relatively cheap top-of-rack switching, all of the system management controller, networking backplane, and integrated switching that is part of a much more expensive blade server is ripped out of the micro server. That means you can cram more server nodes into a box, and for some workloads, having the lower energy consumption and the lowest price per node are the most important thing for customers.

Super Micro MicroCloud server

The Super Micro MicroCloud micro server

Intel executives have said that they expect micro servers to eventually comprise about 10 per cent of the server volumes, thanks to their adoption by cloud infrastructure and hosting suppliers, and about two-thirds of those machines would be best suited to a Xeon, rather than an Atom, processor. So it is no surprise, then, that Super Micro's first foray into micro servers is based on the Xeon E3 processors rather than the Atom. That said, Super Micro may plunk one or more Atom processors onto a server tray for the MicroCloud boxes at some point – the company is not saying at this time if that is the plan.

But this secret decoder ring chart that Super Micro partners have been given to understand the naming conventions for the MicroCloud components shows what options the company might be planning for:

Super Micro MicroCloud options

As you can see, Super Micro can contemplate a number of chassis form factors (3U, 4U, and 6U), processor architectures and coprocessors, and peripheral expansion for the MicroClouds.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Pay to play: The hidden cost of software defined everything
Enter credit card details if you want that system you bought to actually be useful
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
HP busts out new ProLiant Gen9 servers
Think those are cool? Wait till you get a load of our racks
Silicon Valley jolted by magnitude 6.1 quake – its biggest in 25 years
Did the earth move for you at VMworld – oh, OK. It just did. A lot
VMware's high-wire balancing act: EVO might drag us ALL down
Get it right, EMC, or there'll be STORAGE CIVIL WAR. Mark my words
Forrester says it's time to give up on physical storage arrays
The physical/virtual storage tipping point may just have arrived
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.