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The OpenBlockS 600 is a Linux server that fits in your palm

It's about the size of two cigarette packs side-by-side

By Eric Lai
October 1, 2009 01:49 PM ET

Computerworld - Forget the netbook or the net-top PC: How about a net-server?

A Japanese vendor is touting a lilliputian Linux Web server that weighs 8 ounces and consumes just 8 watts.

At 5.2-inches-by-3.1-inches in size -- and 1.2 inches thick -- the OpenBlockS 600 is about the size of two cigarette packs side-by-side. For non-smokers, that's two iPhones stacked on top of each other.

Starting at $600, the OpenBlockS 600 from Plat'Home Co. Ltd. includes a 600 MHz PowerPC CPU, 1 GB of DDR2 SDRAM and a CompactFlash slot and 3 USB 2.0 ports for internal and external storage. Detailed specs are available online.

It comes installed with Plat'Home's own embedded SSD/Linux distribution by default, though customers can also request others such as Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, Java SE for Embedded and NetBSD.

The OpenBlockS 600 is actually the latest in Plat'Home's line of Linux 'micro-servers' first introduced in 2000. The 16-year-old company -- headquartered in Tokyo's famed electronics district, Akihabara, and with a sales office in the Silicon Valley -- has sold more than 50,000 OpenBlockS devices.

According to a spokeswoman, customers include banks telecom firms and universities.

Plat'Home is targeting the latest, fastest OpenBlockS 600 at companies looking for a small-footprint Web server as a more-secure alternative to sending their data outside to a cloud or Web service.

Its 8-watt draw is about a tenth of even the most-efficient rack servers, claims the company, and lets the device run without a fan. To emphasize the OpenBlockS 600's green cred, Plat'Home is also donating money to a wind energy project in India to offset 1,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

The server is encased in a tight aluminum-alloy shell to protect it against drops, cold temperatures and fluctuating humidity. That means customers "can put them anywhere, or even hide them," the spokeswoman said.

The OpenBlockS 600 is a Linux-based server from Plat'Home.
The OpenBlockS 600 is a Linux-based server from Plat'Home.

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