Intel Atom processor is famous for its low power consumption and is penetrating well into netbook and embedded market. While it seems to be less powerful as compared to mainstream class Xeon processor, but according to online reliable source, Microsoft is trying to push the giant chipmaker to develop a 16-core Atom processor targeted for its server farm, as an initiative to reduce the usage of power hungry Xeon server-class processors in server market. If you recall, VIA Nano processor did try to tap into Dell computer server space back in 2009.
It sounds like a similar concept that been deployed by SeaMicro SM10000 Atom-based server staggered with up to 512 CPUs but instead of pulling in individual Atom CPU for such purpose, the new request is trying to influence the whole architecture change with 16-core integrated into a single package solution. The advantage is obvious, customer will able to enjoy much lower cost and power consumption as compared to server class mainstream processor, with high scalability depending on the needs of traffic processing, while at the same time offering x86 architecture benefits as compared to ARM solutions.
However, by looking at current model of Intel Atom processor with maximum of only dual core support, there isn’t any evidence if the 16-core requirement is feasible and will appear in Intel Atom future roadmap. Furthermore, it may potentially cannibalizing other mainstream product lines but lets wait for confirmation from the giant chip maker.