Syndicate raises cash for ARM server project

Texan outfit Smooth-Stone says it will raise $48 million from a unique syndicate of investors in order to change the way data centres work forever.

The company - whose funding partners included Brit chip shop ARM, Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC), Battery Ventures, Flybridge Capital Partners, Highland Capital Partners and Texas Instruments - says its goal is to completely remove power consumption as an issue for the data centre.

"Imagine that change for companies with a large presence on the Internet,” said spokes-smoothie Barry Evans. “They all deal with the reality that as the mass of information grows daily, so does their power consumption. Every day these companies are thinking about managing their data centre sprawl. We want to make sure that space and power are not constraining their potential.”

Smooth-Stone will be trying to outdo chip giant Intel in a market dominated by the larger company's Atom CPUs by using ARM's low-draw processors which commonly appear in cellphones and other mobile devices.

The fledgling company, which employs just 12 people, is not alone in its plans. Outfits like Sea Micro, Tilera and Google-owned Agnilux are all eyeing the low-powered server market.

“Smooth-Stone’s approach of bringing low-power technology into the server domain made them a perfect fit for our investment model,” said Bruce Beckloff, vice president of corporate business development at ARM. “There is a strong market need for a new class of data centre platforms that offer a significant improvement in performance from both the energy and density perspectives, and ARM is excited to support Smooth-Stone’s efforts to develop innovative chip solutions for this new class of platforms.”