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Start-up Sets New Bar in Green Machines

Movidis Inc. introduces Revolution x16 Server

The industry and users talk innovation and then shy away from it, spooked at the idea of being too innovative. California start-up Movidis Inc, however, which started in video streaming, is running straight into the spinning propellers.

It's developed a radically different Debian Linux box aimed initially at network storage and web server applications that could challenge the budding green concerns that computer people everywhere pay lip service to since its power consumption and heat dissipation are radically lower than anything else around.

The box is appropriately called the Revolution x16 Server and uses a 16-core network processor based on the 64-bit Mips chip developed by a bunch of ex-Alpha folk at Cavium Networks. The chip is called Octeon. It can reportedly execute 20 billion instructions per second while consuming just 50 watts with no drive or 60 watts with a drive.

By comparison Intel's twin-core Woodcrest chip consumes 80 watts and its new high-end dual-core NetBurst-based Tulsa Xeon 150 watts.

The chip includes integrated accelerators that do encryption, compression and TCP packet processing in hardware rather than software, making the Revolution much more secure and fast that your bog standard servers.

To simplify matters - Mips suffers from a software shortage - Debian is burned into the machine's on-board Flash memory and is loaded with development tools and applications like Apache, MySQL, Postgres and the LAMP scripting languages so Revolution could be just as easily be used for database applications in the data center as at the edge.

Revolution is available in 1U and 2U configurations, with either four or eight SATA or SAS drives for a maximum capacity of 6TB on a single 2U RAID system.

A base 500MHz box with 2GB of DRAM and no disk is priced at $2,995. With a 600MHz chip it would be $4k and $5k with room for eight drives, according to CEO and founder Ken Goldsholl.

Goldsholl said the box would move into beta with customers in the next two or three weeks. He also says that it competes with and undercuts Sun's eight-core Niagara-based T1000 and T2000 Sparc machines that Sun positions as being the greenest machines around. The Niagara chip, which Sun has open sourced, is supposed to dissipate 72 watts, but that's just the chip.

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