Microservers are a whole other kettle of fish, an emerging class of cloud computer focused on maximum MIPS/Watt. As far as I can tell Intel coined the term just as it did with Ultrabooks and Netbooks, but this time I think it's on to a broader industry category.
The Web era is lurching toward microservers to feed expanding data centers where power is the key bottleneck. Intel is far from alone in seeing the opportunity.
By my count nine companies ranging from AMD to Samsung are preparing ARM-based server SoCs, most of them shipping next year. They have their work cut out for them with an architecture just now moving into 64-bit addressability and support for server software stacks.
Nevertheless, there's a fascinating showdown coming in 2014 between ARM and x86 SoCs at the microserver corral. Intel appears to have an edge having shaken the bugs out of its 22nm process sporting FinFETs. The competition will probably be on planar 28, 32 and even 45nm processes.
Intel also has a time-to-market lead. Avoton is expected to ship before the end of the year, probably six months ahead of most 64-bit ARM-based SoCs.
That said, stories have yet to be written about what are the ingredients for a successful microserver and its SoC. There will be a battle for the right mix of peripherals and the best interconnect fabrics.
So, I'd love to hear from those of you who have sharpened your pencils over microserver designs and written up server SOC wish lists. Chime in with your opinions and questions.
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