Intel has unveiled an Atom processor-based platform designed with network-attached storage (NAS) devices in mind. It's called Milstead and uses existing Atom D2500 and D2550 chips to power personal cloud systems for individual or small business use. Both of these processors are dual-core 10W TDP parts although the D2550 features hyper threading and a marginally faster GPU.

Atom-based NAS' will support Windows and Linux with cross-platform file sharing and up to six SATA drives with hot-plug capability. Interestingly enough, one of the Asustor NAS systems highlighted on Intel's page shows eight drive bays. Capacity can be expanded via USB should the need arise. The chip maker says up to 14 additional storage drives can be connected via USB.

The platform is already available from companies like Asustor, QNAP and Thecus with other vendors working on solutions to release in the near future. Intel points out that Mpstor and Dane-Elec have developed an optimized storage stack for small business customers. The platform has integrated support for digital readouts while dual display support (HDMI and / or VGA) can help to lower bill of material costs. A maximum of 4GB of main memory can be added to each system. We'd expect Gigabit Ethernet to come standard although the press material didn't mention network connectivity specifics.

If you have a small business or are looking to set up a personal cloud in your home but don't want to build a system yourself, Intel's off-the-shelf solution might be worth looking into.