Intel unveils platform for home storage networks

Atom processor-based platform cuts power needs by 50% compared to older chip sets

Intel Corp. today announced it is shipping to electronics manufacturers its first processor platform customized for home servers and small office network attached storage (NAS) systems.

The company said the new processing platform can increase performance for popular consumer applications such as video processing by some 85%.

The new Atom D410 single core and D510 dual core processors are bundled with the company's 82801IR controller to create a new hardware platform optimized for processing higher-intensity I/O workloads through hyper-threading, or parallelization of computations, and optimized data handling firmware, Intel said.

The new Atom-processor platform is targeted for use in centralized hub products that organize, manage, protect and share documents, photos, videos and music throughout a home and small office.

"Households with home networks are the biggest opportunity out there. Worldwide, this year, 280 million homes have home networks that something like this will fit into," said Seth Bobroff, general manager of Intel's Storage Group.

"Then add to that the explosion of mobile devices and the desire to share rich content, whether that's photos, videos or games, and we think there's absolutely an opportunity for centralized storage and networking," he added. "In essence, you're creating a personal cloud in the home that you can also access on the road."

Intel said storage hardware vendors such as LaCie, LG Electronics, QNAP, Synology and Thecus plan products based on the new Atom processor-based platform.

LG said that in benchmark tests, its N4B2 NAS server equipped with the Atom platform allows up to 20 users to simultaneously stream high-definition video at up to 30Mbit/sec within a local network.

The Atom-processor platform features six PCI Express lanes, 12 USB 2.0 ports, a port multiplier function and eSATA ports, offering hardware vendors the ability to add peripheral devices and expand storage capacity outside of their equipment.

The N4B2 server also features hot plug capabilities for capacity upgrades and an integrated gigabit Ethernet MAC controller for improved performance of data transfers to and from the home server or small office NAS device.

The storage platform also supports Microsoft Windows Home Server and open source Linux operating systems.

The hyper-threading feature could increase video transcoding performance by 85%, as well as improve I/O by up to 11% for concurrent processing tasks.

Bobroff said broadcast television recording, online movie rental, facial recognition technology, video monitoring and content sharing are some of the applications driving the need for more powerful processing technology in the home or small office.

Both Intel Atom processors , the D410 and D510, were announced in December for use in networking equipment and entry-level desktop systems.

Bobroff said the announcement is similar to last month's release of the Jasper Forest line of processors , a line of previously available processors that were upgraded for communications, networking, embedded systems and external data storage products.

"You'll probably see us do more of this over time even in this segment to get right class of product, price and performance out there," he said.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld . Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian , send e-mail to lmearian@computerworld.com or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed .

Read more about storage in Computerworld's Storage Knowledge Center.

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Lucas Mearian

Lucas Mearian

Computerworld (US)
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