More than two years ago, Microsoft engineers started designing a server that could handle its three biggest workloads -- the Bing search engine, Azure cloud services, and Office 360 -- for both its global and regional datacenters. It has been deploying the server for a year.
Tuesday, Microsoft publicly released a 350-page specification for the server (above) which is being made by Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and Quanta. It also released the Gerber files for the PCB layout, CAD files for the 12U chassis, and source code for its management software.
The design is based on a dual-socket, Ivy Bridge-class, Intel Xeon server with two solid-state drives, four hard disks, and 12 DIMM sockets. Microsoft is currently working on a Haswell-class version of the design it likely will start using before the end of the year.
Meanwhile, Microsoft has been evaluating Intel's Atom-based Avoton microserver but has made no decision about using it. "We are looking at how to map our workloads into a microserver environment, but trying to find that sweet spot is not easy," said Kushagra Vaid, general manager for server engineering in Microsoft's cloud and enterprise group.
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