For new web server, Dell taps Via Nano CPUs

Dell's latest server design is code-named Fortuna, and it may turn out to be a stroke of luck for Via. That's because, according to the New York Times' Bits blog, Dell will build the new system around Via's Nano processors.

Why the Nano? Reportedly, Fortuna systems (a.k.a. XS11-VX8) will cram "12 full servers . . . in a 3.5-inch-high case," with each server drawing just 15-30W of power and costing "less than $400 a pop." That'd be tough to accomplish with more conventional low-power server chips. Just as important, the Nano supports both 64-bit extensions and virtualization technology. (Intel's Atom doesn't do the latter.)

The Times says Dell will target the XS11-VX8 at web hosting applications, although the system will only be available "through a special group within Dell that creates custom hardware for large customers." Still, considering even Nano-powered laptops are few and far between, Via may understate things slightly when it calls the XS11-VX8 a "big, major win." Look for an official announcement next week.

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