Intel Microserver open-standard planned

Intel are readying a new standard for so-called "microservers", based on the company's prototype targeted at low-traffic websites.  The open standard would describe a royalty-free, compact alternative to blade servers – powered by Intel processors, naturally – which combines both low idle power draw and fast response times.  Intel's current prototype has a 1.86GHz quad-core Lynnfield processor paired with four memory slots.

That Nehalem-series processor draws just 45W at full blow, but will soon be replaced by a a dual-core Clarkdale requiring 30W.  The individual server board is designed to sit into an 8.75-inch-tall chassis that has the network and power connectivity together with responsibility for actively cooling the system; up to 16 microservers can fit into each chassis.

Running along the bottom, meanwhile, are 16 2.5-inch HDD sleds that connect to each microserver.  While unlikely to be capable of supporting a mainstream site, the microservers will be ideal "for the low-end, scaled-out Web hosting space" Jason Waxman, general manager of Intel's high-density computing group explained.  The new range of relatively frugal CPUs means "[Intel] think we can put enough power in a low enough power envelope" Waxman continued.

Eventually, the goal is to achieve a 25W idle draw for the entire microprocessor.  Intel will be offering the design specification to the Server System Infrastructure Forum before the end of 2009.