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SeaMicro Unveils 512 Atom-Based Server 183

1sockchuck writes "Stealthy startup SeaMicro has unveiled its new low-power server, which incorporates 512 Intel Atom CPUs, a load balancer and interconnection fabric into a 10u server. SeaMicro, which received a $9.3 million government grant from DOE to develop its technology, says its server uses less than 2 kilowatts of energy — suggesting that a single rack with four SeaMicro units and 2,048 CPUs could draw just 8 kilowatts of power. Check out the technical overview, plus additional coverage from Wired, GigaOm and VentureBeat."
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SeaMicro Unveils 512 Atom-Based Server

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 14, 2010 @11:11AM (#32565418)

    OK, OK. At least $EDITOR gets it right at the second attempt (8 kW of power).

  • by Nadaka ( 224565 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @11:17AM (#32565486)

    The FLOPS are not all that important for this device. It isn't designed to crunch big numbers. It is designed as a web|web application server with the goal of serving far more connections per watt than a traditional server.

  • by IYagami ( 136831 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @11:23AM (#32565562)

    SeaMicro: 512 Atom processors in 10U rack
    Dell PowerEdge R815: 4 Opteron processors, each one up to 12 cores, in 2U rack. In a 10U you can include 5 of these servers, which will bring 4 x 12 x 5 = 240 Opteron cores

    More info here []

  • by Jeng ( 926980 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @11:31AM (#32565674)

    Considering how many articles were linked I don't know if you rtfa'd or not.

    The Core 2 uses a bit more than twice as much power, but if you have two Atoms you also need twice as many north-bridge chips and this pushes the power usage up to over what the Core 2 will consume.

    This is from the wired article.

    Just changing the CPU to a low power chip, though, isn't enough says SeaMicro. The trick lies in creating a new architecture that can pull all the chips together and manage their power requirements.

    "If you just replace the chips in a traditional server with Atom processors, the power consumption actually goes up," says Feldman.

    Integrating features such as storage, networking and server management into a single ASIC (application specific integrated circuit) helps manage power better, says the company. It has also virtualized the CPU input-output so those modules that would have otherwise occupied space on a board and consumed power don't anymore.

  • by ircmaxell ( 1117387 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @11:33AM (#32565694) Homepage
    A typical 1 U server (2 processor 4 cores each) can consume between 300 and 500 watts. So 42 of them (the number in a rack) would give 336 cores at between 12kw and 21kw. As a rough number for reasonable performance servers, 300 to 500 watts per U is about what you'll find. Sure, you can find more powerful and less powerful servers, but that's a decent figure...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 14, 2010 @11:35AM (#32565720)

    Reading comprehension is tech, man.

    They state in several of the linked articles that the whole reason this thing saves power & space is they've developed technology that allows them to have 90% fewer components per CPU than a traditional server motherboard.

  • System Specs (Score:5, Informative)

    by dlapine ( 131282 ) <lapine@illinois . e du> on Monday June 14, 2010 @11:53AM (#32565954) Homepage

    This is a good start- SM10000 System Overview []

    Interconnect is 1.28 Tbps or 2.5 Gbps per core.

    I/O includes a minimum or 8 gige or 2 10-gige, which can be increased to 64 gige or 16 10-gige links per chassis.

    This unit runs as 512 system images using stock 32 bit OS's. Each CPU may have 1 or 2 GB's of ram and up to 64 local drives may be installed and divided among the CPU's with the included management software. The unit supports PXE boot, so the system images may run off local disk or from a ram image.

    Just to note, the Atom z530 is a single core, 32 bit only CPU, if that matters.

    I couldn't tell you if the 16 10-gige links would seriously limit this box or not. You'd have to show me a data center with more than 160 Gbps of internet connectivity first. :) And that's assuming you only purchased one of these suckers, because you'd need that much per chassis.

  • Re:Vitual center (Score:4, Informative)

    by robthebloke ( 1308483 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @11:54AM (#32565976)
    Absolute tosh. You need CPU hardware virtualisation support to do those things you speak of. Those features are no where to be found in the Atom. You will not be running VM's on any Atom based system because they are simply not up to the job. (I speak from experience here)
  • by washu_k ( 1628007 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @12:42PM (#32566650)
    I've seen this posted before in other Atom stories and it's 100% BS. The Atom is a full CPU, they did not shift any features into the northbridge as you claim. The 945 chip often used on Atom motherboards has been around for a while, and was used in systems before the Atom even existed. The 945 is just not very power efficient so that's why it needs more cooling than the CPU.

    The Atom can be paired with other northbridge chips, notably Nvidia's ION. If part of the CPU was in the 945 chip as you claim this would be impossible.
  • Re:Vitual center (Score:5, Informative)

    by asdf7890 ( 1518587 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @12:43PM (#32566670)

    SMP will only bring you so far - i'll bet 8 VCPU VMs on Atoms will be beat by a 2 VCPU VM on a Core 2 Duo.

    Perhaps not, depending on the other load the system is working on. Because of the way VCPUs are scheduled (at least in VMWare) that 8-vCPU VM won't get a time-slice until such time as there are 8 real cores available for the duration of that slice. If your task is CPU intensive and can be easily separated into distinct tasks not overly chatty (i.e. cross VM latency is not going to be a major issue) and the host has gobs of RAM available, you are often better off having several VMs with one cVPU each than one VM with several vCPUs. This may be much less of a problem on a many-CPU monster like the 512 core unit being discussed than it is on 2/4/8-core boxes, but I expect the balance to still be in favour of multiple single-vCPU VMs in cases where the task can be efficiently split between them.

  • Re:Vitual center (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 14, 2010 @01:41PM (#32567528)

    check your facts - the atom Z530 which they use does have VT-x. and people did virtualize before that , you know.

  • Re:Vitual center (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:59PM (#32568764)

    They are using the Atom Z530, which according to has "Intel® Virtualization Technology (VT-x)"

  • Re:Vitual center (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @05:08PM (#32570872)

    You don't need hardware support for paravirtualization and paravirtualization will handle everything you listed. It won't let you run different OSes but there are plenty, potentially even a majority, of cases where that's not necessary.

  • Re:Vitual center (Score:3, Informative)

    by afidel ( 530433 ) on Monday June 14, 2010 @05:37PM (#32571300)
    Which would you rather have in 8kw, 2048 atom cores or 768 56xx cores? Because that's what HP can cram into 4xc7000's in the same power and floor space envelope (not sure about capital outlay though). Personally for my workloads I'd take the 56xx cores, but YMMV.

APL hackers do it in the quad.