SeaMicro has been peddling its SM10000-64 micro server, based on Intels dual-core, 64-bit Atom N570 processor and cramming 256 of these chips into a 10U chassis. . .
. . . The SM10000-64 is not so much a micro server as a complete data center in a box, designed for low power consumption and loosely coupled parallel processing, such as Hadoop or Memcached, or small monolithic workloads, like Web servers.
While it is not always easy to illustrate the cost/benefit and Return on Investment on a lower power box like the Seamicro, running it head to head on a similar workload with a bunch of off the shelf Xeon boxes really shows the difference. The calculation of the benefit is critical too. What do you measure? Is it speed? Is it speed per transaction? Is it total volume allowed through? Or is it cost per unit transaction within a set amount of transactions? You’re getting closer with that last one. The test setup used a set number of transaction needing to be done in a set period of time. The benchmark then measure total power dissipation to accomplish that number of transactions in the set amount of time. SeaMicro came away the winner in unit cost per transaction in power terms. While the Xeon based servers had huge excess speed and capacity the power dissipation put it pretty far into the higher cost per transaction category.
However it is very difficult to communicate this advantage that SeaMicro has over Intel. Future tests/benchmarks need to be constructed with clearly stated goals and criteria. Specifically if it can be communicated as a Case History of a particular problem that could be solved by either a SeaMicro server or a bunch of Intel boxes running Xeon cpus with big caches. Once that Case History is well described, then the two architectures are then put to work showing what the end goal is in clear terms (cost per transaction). Then and only then will SeaMicro communicate effectively how it does things different and how that can save money. Otherwise it’s too different to measure effectively versus a Intel Xeon based rack of servers.
- Big data on micro servers? You bet. (gigaom.com)
- A visit to Silicon Valley’s hot new hardware company: Microserver maker SeaMicro (scobleizer.com)
- eHarmony Switches from Cloud to Atom Servers (datacenterknowledge.com)