Why: Its technology can reduce the cost of computing in data centers.
Key innovation: Runs servers with cell-phone chips rather than processors built on industry-standard designs, which are more power-hungry.
Calxeda is using low-power ARM processors developed for mobile phones to run servers, which could make data centers much more energy-efficient. Although individually the chips do not perform as well as those used in today's servers, they can be linked together in a network of thousands of nodes to do the same work using less power.
Energy consumption is a major cost of operating the data centers that have sprung up to meet the processing demands created by the increasing popularity of cloud computing and social networking.
Calxeda has received funding from ARM, whose basic architecture was used to develop the company's "server-on-chip" technology. The company will begin testing its server platform with major vendors later this year.
Challenges and Next Steps:
The server industry has spent decades developing specialized software for the Intel and AMD chips—software that Calxeda's ARM-based chips won't be able to run. This means the open-source community must step in to develop new programs.