SME Server Form Factor
My idea is based around the need for Small and Medium sized enterprises to have a new form factor created around their very specific need to get datacenter capable components that cannot be situated in a dedicated datacenter.
Their needs are getting ever more sophisticated but its hard for them to have multiple tower servers or one powerful server situated in an office environment. If they did go for rack servers a large rack dominates the office space and of course remains loud due to the BPU output. I am therefore proposing a new standard be created around the traditional rack platform but meets specific criteria for SME;
1. Size (Office Space)
2. Power (Efficiency)
3. Cooling (Reduced active cooling)
My idea is around taking the traditional server rack 'U' format and shrinking it to a more suitable standard for SME's. i.e. 'Mini U'. It could be around 50-70% of the normal depth and width and a maximum of perhaps 50% of the height. This rack could then take mini U servers, storage, switches, routers, UPS's, patch cabling etc. It would likely need to be an open standard in order for other vendors to build equipment to the new standard or offer rack mount kits for their existing equipment.
With Mini ITX and ATX becoming more commonplace and Intel driving down the TDP of their processors we must surely be in a situation where these servers could be produced effectively. Think along the lines of a blade computer but one that is stand alone and mountable.
These racks could also be used for Enterprises for satellite offices too.
When working for a Microsoft Gold Partner we were frequently told by Microsoft that theres a lot of consultancies going for the large corporates and yet there are literally hundreds of thousands of SME's in the marketplace desperate for more IT maturity.
Obviously cost is always going to be a factor but the volume might become comparable to large enterprises when taking into account the number of businesses out there.
With Microsoft's essentials platforms you could pretty much have an OEM appliance marketplace developed as well as Open source opportunities.
I know for me as an SME consultant I would love to have equipment like this available that allows me to help a small business but allow them the headroom for years to come. Especially because VMWare offer ESX SME solutions too.
Its an idea I have been thinking about for a couple of years so happy for it to be dissected, good or bad, pros and cons.