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Low-power, Linux-based micro-server ships

Mar 31, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 6 views

Japanese systems integrator Plat'Home started shipping its Linux-based OpenBlockS handheld server in the U.S. The $440, RoHS certified server device consumes less than 4.5W, supports power-over-Ethernet, and targets a variety of networking applications, including server-room surveillance and other… high-temperature monitoring systems, the company says.

(Click for larger view of OpenBlockS)

In October, Plat'Home announced that OpenBlockS was shipping in the U.S., along with a similar, slightly larger OpenMicroServer. Apparently, OpenBlockS ran into some last-minute snags, but the tiny server is now available stateside. Apart from the price, the only new information to emerge is the impressively low 4.5W power consumption (4.0 W during standby), which enables it to be powered over a Power over Ethernet (PoE) connection. According to Plat'Home, a standard Dell, HP or IBM server consumes the equivalent power of 76 OpenBlockS servers.

OpenBlockS (internal view)

OpenBlockS has been selling in Japan for over four years, with the latest 266MHz version launching in 2007. The micro-server is used by NTT, KDDI, Sony, Fujitsu, and Toshiba, among others, says Plat'Home. It comes standard with the company's SSD/Linux distribution (Debian and NetBSD are also supported).

The fanless device measures 4.5 x 3.2 x 1.5 inches, weighs only a half of a pound (225 grams), and supports operating environments up to 104 degrees F (40 degrees C), says Plat'Home. Based on an AMCC PowerPC 405GPr SoC (system-on-chip) clocked at 266MHz, the server is equipped with 128MB of RAM. It boots from 16MB, of which 3.6MB is free for user applications. An IDE interface supporting Type I CompactFlash or 2.5-inch UDMA100 hard drives is included along with a pair of 10/100 Ethernet interfaces, a serial port on an RJ-45 port, and a serial modem port.

Stated Hideki Takeuchi, group leader of the KDDI technical service center, “Creating an appliance server with the OpenBlockS was surprisingly easy. Its flexibility and reliability has given us a noteworthy advantage. We could lower costs, while strengthening our networks at the same time.”


The OpenBlockS server is currently shipping in the U.S., promises Plat'Home. It is said to be priced at 43,620 yen, or about $440. More information may be found here.

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