Microservers like the ARM Servers offered by miniNodes.com are a new product in the hosting industry, directly resulting from the dramatic performance gains in low-power cellphone processor technology made over the past few years. Essentially, micro servers are a mash-up of a smartphone’s CPU and flash memory, combined with a computer’s ethernet, video, and USB ports. The micro servers used by miniNodes.com are roughly the size of a smartphone, or a wallet. In comparison, the smallest standard server, a 1U rack-mount unit, is roughly the size of a few laptops laid out next to each other.
Microservers can be based on Intel Atom or AMD low-power x86 CPUs, but typically are based on ARM processors due to their origins in cell phones (and thus, battery power). ARM CPU’s were designed to operate at low wattage, conserve battery power, and focus on efficiency. These traits allow micro servers to also operate at extremely low wattage, typically in the 5 to 10 watt range. A traditional 1U server operates at about 400 to 500 watts on average.
Along with the reduced size and reduced power requirements, come reduced costs. ARM servers are only a fraction of the price of a normal server, allowing IT departments to cut their cloud and hosted server spending while still performing their same tasks. ARM servers can run Fedora, Ubuntu, or arkOS Linux operating systems, with support for CentOS Linux coming soon.