Part of its efforts to save energy in data centers
Microsoft has asked Intel to develop a 16-core version of its low-power Atom chip for use in servers.
A Microsoft executive said the move was a part of a wider effort to reduce power consumption in its data centers.
An engineer at the Microsoft’s Global Foundation Services, which runs the company’s data centers, Dileep Bhandarkar said an opportunity existed to improve energy efficiency by using servers based on small, low-power chip designs such as Intel’s Atom and Advanced Micro Devices’ Bobcat.
Microsoft’s data centers power mostly Web-centric applications as well as hosted versions of business applications.
Vendors such as Dell are already selling servers based on Via’s Nano processor.
Microsoft has said it would port Windows to ARM processors for use in mobile devices such as tablet computers. But Bhandarkar argues that is different from PCs and servers, which are expected to run a wide range of existing software.
Microsoft looks at its data centers holistically and processors are just one part of the energy-efficiency equation for the company.