The news surrounding Intel's recent announcement of the Atom
Z6xx (aka Moorestown) System-on-a-Chip (SoC) tends to focus on the uphill
battle the company is facing in the ARM-centric smartphone ecosystem. Intel has
claimed idle times of 21-23 milliwatts for the Z6xx series compared to 25 mW
for a 1GHz Snapdragon. That is 10 days of standby time with a 1500 mAh battery.
What is more interesting is the move to port Windows Server to multi-core ARM
processors manufactured at 40 nm, such as announced by Marvell Technology
Group. The chips will bring more than a five-fold reduction in power
consumption in data centers and cloud environments compared to the x86. Think
of the headroom an ARM implementation in servers would be when comparing an
Intel Xeon at several hundred dollars versus a $35 ARM quad-core running
virtualized Windows Server 2008. Om Malik brings up in a recent post that it
was "too bad Intel sold its StrongARM technology to Marvell." I agree; Marvell
did what Intel didn't have the heart to do. We think of virtualization in data
centers as smart economics in hardware utilization and power consumption but
what happens when server hardware processor cores decrease by a factor of 10
and power consumption by 5? Do we throw hardware at the problem again? Analysts
should model the financial scenarios factoring in VMWare licensing costs, power
consumption/footprint of rack space and application-specific-servers vs.
general purpose power-hog blades running VMWare.
Paul Lopez is a 25+ year technology veteran whose career has spanned multiple disciplines such as IT modernization, enterprise architecture, agile software development, DevOps, cloud infrasructure, global marketing & PR, product management and service operations. His industry experience includes... read more