Start-up semiconductor company Smooth-Stone has raised $48m from an impressive syndicate of investors including ARM, Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC), Battery Ventures, Flybridge Capital Partners, Highland Capital Partners and Texas Instruments Inc. The money will go towards the development of high performance, low power chips that the company believes will change the server and data centre markets.
Founded in 2008, Smooth‐Stone’s aim is to bring better performance density to the data centre. At the heart of the development is the use of ultra-low power processors, as used on mobile phones, but the company is bringing together experience in a range of technologies and hardware and software design and development to deliver a complete low power solution.
The idea is that Smooth-Stone will make it possible for data centre managers to increase the density of their computer resources while conserving energy, cooling and space. At the same time, the technology will contribute to the reduction of the CO2 footprint of the data centre.
“Our 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 Smooth-Stone CEO 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.”
Chip power consumption (and the heat it creates) is an issue in the PC and server market and one reason for the growth of multicore architectures, which in turn has fuelled the explosive growth of virtualisation. But Smooth-Stone’s approach is a concerted effort to find a more comprehensive solution. With the experience of the investor syndicate it has, who have a strong collection of previous successes between them (ARM continues its seat on the Smooth-Stone board of directors) this could be a company to watch.