Microsoft stuffs 20TB storage and 50GB memory into two servers, would fit in a carry on bag

Laurent Giret

Microsoft has partnered with Intel to create an interesting server prototype that includes a two-server cluster into a package smaller than one cubic foot. The project codenamed Kepler-47 was unveiled at Microsoft’s Ignite 2016 conference last month, and the company designed it as a proof of concept for an affordable and versatile solution for small businesses looking to optimize their server deployments.

In a blog post explaining the designing process of the Kepler-47 Prototype, the Windows Server team explained:

With Project Kepler-47, we used Storage Spaces Direct and Windows Server 2016 to build an unprecedentedly low-cost high availability solution to meet remote-office, branch-office needs. It delivers the simplicity and savings of hyper-convergence, with compute and storage in a single two-server cluster, with next to no networking gear, that is very budget friendly.

According to the team, the Kepler-47 Prototype delivers over 20 TB of flash-accelerated storage and over 50 GB of error-correcting DDR4 memory. Among other highlights, the two servers are connected via Intel Thunderbolt 3 over USB Type-C instead of a more traditional Ethernet connection. The faster connection speeds (up to 20 Gb/s) which have been made possible thanks to Intel’s support makes it easy to replicate storage or migrate virtual machines between the two servers running Windows Server 2016 Datacenter.

Last but not least, the Kepler-47 prototype fits in a package that is 45% smaller than standard 2U rack servers, with the team adding that it actually fits in one carry-on bag in the overhead bin. Moreover, Each Kepler-47 server cost the team just $1,101, excluding drives.

The Kepler-47 is 45% smaller than standard 2U rack servers.
The Kepler-47 is 45% smaller than standard 2U rack servers.

We invite you to read the full blog post to learn all the technical details about this prototype. Let us know in the comments if you think small businesses could be interested in a similar solution to make their server deployments more affordable and efficient.