Johan De Gelas over at Anandtech has written a rather solid article pertaining to the Xeon D SoC. While those of us constructing labs or right-sized solutions for the SMB market have been relegated to using either the underpowered-yet-acceptable Atom SoC or the pricier step up to a Xeon E3 processor, this newest Intel platform is exceptionally attractive based upon it’s power-to-performance ratio. The SuperMicro solution that is profiled as part of De Gelas’ review highlights how far we’ve progressed in the micro server arena.
A few years back, the HP MicroServer series was relegated to AMD Turion II SoC’s that were held back by an outdated architecture and missing amenities that could be more commonplace if Tier 1 vendors would place less effort on “low cost” and more effort on selling the benefits of features that are taken for granted in enterprise-class solutions. Although the caveats related to the internal design and architecture of the SuperMicro offering are legitimate for production-level use cases, they certainly don’t detract from secondary markets that would benefit from this type of solution.
We will have our first review up within the next few days relating a server solution that we’ve recently procured to establish a high availability virtualization cluster. The initial upfront cost for the full base model system is less than the cost of the Xeon D, but the 40 pound, 5U form factor will consume significantly more power and offer less performance based upon the benchmarks that were executed in the article. Kudos to Intel for providing a compute platform that contains forward-thinking network connectivity, ample memory capacity, and a solid execution of power-efficient compute. Given enough time and scale, future variants of the Xeon D platform may fully replace existing Xeon E3 and competing SoC offerings from a myriad of manufacturers.