SeaMicro puts 256 Xeon cores in server

SeaMicro, which sold only Atom-based servers, adds a Xeon microserver to its stable

SeaMicro on Tuesday announced a microserver that incorporates 256 Xeon processor cores to enable faster delivery of data for Internet-based activities such as social media or search.

The SM10000-XE server is a 10U rack server with 64 quad-core Intel E3-1260L processors that run at a clock speed of 2.4GHz. The server is designed to provide faster response to Internet queries by speeding dynamic Web applications and tasks such as extraction of information from databases.

The new server is an upgrade from SeaMicro's SM10000-64HD, which launched last year with 384 dual-core Atom low-power netbook chips. The new server's Xeon processors have "heavyweight" cores that can deliver a better performance than Atom cores, said Andrew Feldman, CEO of SeaMicro.

SeaMicro has been selling 10U Atom-based servers for the past 18 months, but there was a need to drive up performance by implementing server-class Xeon chips, Feldman said. Smaller and fast moving Internet workloads are efficient on Atom, while the demanding cloud workloads are faster on Xeon, Feldman said.

On servers running Apache open-source software, the new servers handily outpace the older Atom-based machines, Feldman said. It is also faster at running Memcached caching software and PHP applications, he said.

The SM10000-XE server draws 3.2 kilowatts to 3.5 kilowatts on normal workloads, which is higher than SeaMicro's existing Atom servers, Feldman said. The Xeon and Atom servers have different benefits and their adoption will ultimately depend on whether a customer is looking for faster application performance or power savings, Feldman said.

However, the server is more power-efficient than a fleet of independent Xeon-based servers, Feldman said. Each 10U server unit can replace 500 single-socket servers from five years ago, while providing a 25-times improvement in power consumption.

SeaMicro's SM10000-XE server falls in an emerging class of servers called "microservers," which are dense servers that can share components such as power supplies and network connectors. The SeaMicro servers can be plugged in hyperscale environments to add computing capacity, while sticking within the power and space constraints of data centers, Feldman said.

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