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Dell to launch Via-based server

Dell to launch Via-based server

VIa's Nano processor might be more traditionally thought of as a netbook chip, but Dell hopes it could make a splash in the server world.

Reports currently circulating the web point to a massive win for underdog processor manufacturer Via, with box shifter Dell poised to announce a new server product based around the Nano platform.

As reported over on The New York Times, Dell is pegged to announce this week a new server product based around the Nano chip from Via.

Aimed at the high-density server market, the new Dell XS11-VX8 – codename Fortuna – looks to pack twelve independent servers into a single 3.5” rackmountable case. Impressively, the low-power Nano chip helps each system in the case consume just 30W – a fraction of a traditional server system.

Senior director of chip marketing at Via, Epan Wu, called the deal with Dell “a big, major win” for the company – and the first major product which looks to move the low-powered Nano chip out of the netbook sector. With impressive performance-per-watt, netbook-oriented chips such as the Nano could well find a new home in the high-density server market should Dell's latest product take off.

Although the Nano's lightweight performance statistics – with a clock speed of just 1.6GHz at best they're clearly not going to be beating Xeons at any benchmarks – might make it a poor fit for processor-intensive tasks, its low power consumption makes it ideal for web server applications – which is where Dell will be concentrating its marketing.

Whether Via can make a splash in a market almost entirely sewn up by Intel and AMD remains to be seen, but the company is certainly going to give it a try.

Do you think that packing large numbers of relatively low power systems into your rack is the way forward, or would businesses be better off buying a single high-powered system and using virtualisation technology to share the power? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

14 Comments

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p3n 18th May 2009, 13:45 Quote
Is 2u really so mysterious they had to call it 3.5"? Or you just copying NYT?
Paradigm Shifter 18th May 2009, 13:51 Quote
On a server that doesn't need to do any heavy database crunching, that should be pretty decent. :)
Cupboard 18th May 2009, 13:56 Quote
Sounds good, any idea of the specs?
yakyb 18th May 2009, 14:00 Quote
love the idea i take it they will all individually power on and off but be powered from one psu.
DiegoAAC 18th May 2009, 14:35 Quote
I kind of remember some kind of encryption accelerator on Via's processors
airchie 18th May 2009, 14:36 Quote
I prefer this idea to using one bad-ass server and virtualisation.
I feel the latter is too much like putting all your eggs in one basket...
Fruitloaf 18th May 2009, 14:36 Quote
Bit slow on the post and light on the details but these things look frankly very nice.
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/05/15/dell_does_via_nano/
Drexial 18th May 2009, 14:44 Quote
Disregard... reading comprehension failure.
interzen 18th May 2009, 18:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DiegoAAC
I kind of remember some kind of encryption accelerator on Via's processors
Yep - it'll do AES in hardware, and as a result will comprehensively spank some notionally faster processors on crypto-intensive applications.

El Reg's story (link above from Fruitloaf) is well worth a read - the spec looks pretty decent, and if something like this were available in a 'standalone' format I'd have a couple. Hell, were it not for the fact that our work IT budget is now practically non-existent I'm sure I could find rack space for a few of these ;-)
DriftCarl 18th May 2009, 18:35 Quote
It is something I would like at home to be honest, but I guess it will be expensive.
I would rather go the virtualisation route. infact that is what I am doing right now at work. It is just so much easier to manage everything from my chair in a VirtualCenter rather than have to go and plug stuff in down in the server room. I have given several people at work login details for small web server images, 2 gig RAM and as far as they are concerned, its a dual core 3 gig processor to themselves. I know that its really shared with a dozen other virtual web servers. but performance is great and full redundancy and snapshot backups are in place.

in my opinion, this is the classic case of "when technology clashes" meaning 2 completly different paths of technology that can do the same thing. and to be honest, virtualization is just better in my eyes.
identikit 18th May 2009, 23:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DriftCarl
It is something I would like at home to be honest, but I guess it will be expensive.
I would rather go the virtualisation route. infact that is what I am doing right now at work. It is just so much easier to manage everything from my chair in a VirtualCenter rather than have to go and plug stuff in down in the server room. I have given several people at work login details for small web server images, 2 gig RAM and as far as they are concerned, its a dual core 3 gig processor to themselves. I know that its really shared with a dozen other virtual web servers. but performance is great and full redundancy and snapshot backups are in place.

in my opinion, this is the classic case of "when technology clashes" meaning 2 completly different paths of technology that can do the same thing. and to be honest, virtualization is just better in my eyes.

Both have their good and bad points, but for what this product is aimed at, it's a direct hit. Low cost, low space, low power, lower total cost of ownership. Hell if I had the cash I'd be plonking it down for one of these and 2U of rack somewhere.
MajestiX 19th May 2009, 00:02 Quote
2u blade server off the top of my head u can fit 16x3.5 inch drives in a 2u storage so looking at around 16 of these boards then connected to a storage server
azrael- 19th May 2009, 08:17 Quote
This server isn't to be launched for the general market, but is instead custom-built for a specific customer by Dell's DCS unit. Although I wouldn't be surprised if Dell would make a generic version if the design proves to be successful.
B3CK 19th May 2009, 17:24 Quote
Some of the smaller business companies would love this as well. I support a handful of companies that already had purchased a few servers expecting to have the reliability of high cost hardware and speed of the same; but were un-aware of the upkeep labor, power consumption, and noise of the older dell servers. I would love to push these out to our new customers. My business customers do not have more than 25 pc's but are between 15 -25. Rather than have a virtual high powered single machine, I would love to tinker with running all their server needs sans disk space, on one of these units with say 5 slots instead of 12. Have three to four up full time, but one down for emergencies.
Not to mention, this would save me money at my house for what I use my home server for.
Now that I think of it,, this would be perfect to replace my server at my house, except for the disk capacity. Perhaps they can come out with a slot that is for a HD that can swap sata to ethernet; or several sata to ethernet.
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