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Dell taps Via Nano chips for low-power server

The XS11-VX8 server is aimed at companies that want to reduce power consumption and pack more computing into the data center.

Dell has unveiled a new server for Web applications that uses Via Technologies' Nano processors to reduce power consumption and increase density in the data center.

Dell XS11-VX8 servers
Dell's new XS11-VX8 servers pack Nano processors from Via Technologies. Dell

Up to 12 of the new XS11-VX8 servers can be fitted into into an industry-standard 2U chassis, each using 15 watts of power while idle and 29 watts at full load. The company claims the new server can reduce total cost of ownership by up to 34 percent.

"We know there are other solutions in the market, but I haven't seen anyone come close to our power numbers while being able to fit into an industry-standard chassis," said Drew Schulke, Data Center Solutions product manager with Dell.

Dell hopes that the XS11-VX8 will appeal to organizations that require lots of server capacity with low processing power, such as hosting providers, Web companies, and telecommunications companies. "Those sorts of customers told us they were buying lots of white tower boxes and stacking them in the data center to manage the workload, but that the cost in terms of power, cooling, and space was a problem. That's what this system addresses," Schulke said.

The release is a smart move for Dell, which has been losing market share to competitors such as Hewlett-Packard and IBM, which have been marketing hyper-scalable servers for high-density environments for some time, said Nathaniel Martinez, a program director with IDC. "This move also gives Dell another alternative to Intel, marking another shift in that relationship. If Intel wasn't offering attractive enough price breaks to power this sort of device, the company might have missed an opportunity," Martinez added.

For customers in certain sectors, the announcement is good news, according to Clive Longbottom, a research director with Quocirca. "It's a specialist solution but one that I think should be considerably cheaper than building a new data center," he said.

Sally Whittle of ZDNet UK reported from London.