Previous ‘Experiencing the Cloud’ posts on the subject:
Software defined server without Microsoft: HP Moonshot [April 10 – Dec 6, 2013]
With 28nm non-exclusive in 2013 TSMC tested first tape-out of an ARM Cortex™-A57 processor on 16nm FinFET process technology [April 3, 2013 – April 18, 2013]
Intel targeting ARM based microservers: the Calxeda case [Dec 14, 2012]
From: ARM Holdings plc, Q1 2014 Roadshow Slides [April 22, 2014]
Licensing Drives Market Share
ARM gains share by winning designs at leading semiconductor companies:
- With choice of suppliers, OEMs are innovating with new types of products
- ARM technology can be used for applications processing, connectivity and storage
- Standard software is available today and enables all form factors to connect to the internet and display all the web pages, play videos, network with friends …
Mobile computers include handheld computers, tablets, and laptops
The first quarter of 2014 saw particularly strong uptake of ARM’s most advanced ARMv8 processor technology with five licenses signed by four semiconductor companies. These customers are planning to develop chips for automotive infotainment systems, carrier networks and high performance computing. During the quarter we saw announcements from Marvell, Mediatek and Qualcomm on how they are developing multicore ARMv8 based processors for use in mid-range and premium smartphones and tablets. There were also announcements from Broadcom and Freescale, they plan to deploy ARMv8 based chips into data centers and enterprise networking equipment. ARMv8 is now the computing platform of choice for future chip designs not just in mobile computing but increasingly in consumer electronics, the data center and networking infrastructure.
We have had very strong licensing as you’ve seen in the numbers here and we have seen a number of exciting products announcements from some of our licensees. At Mobile World Congress recently we saw three key announcements from Qualcomm, from Marvell, from Mediatek talking about ARMv8 based chips for mid-range and high-end smartphones and tablets. Now those devices will take time to conclude, they will take time to get into products, take time to ship. But I think we’re in good track in generally in terms of the deployment of those version 8 of the architecture.
I think it’s worth pointing out that the v8 licensing cycle is in its relatively early stages. We have done sort of 30 licenses plus [out of the total 43 at the moment] compared with well over a 100 in v7.
ARM Progress in Servers:
I don’t have the exact numbers on the top of my head but certainly there were more architecture licenses earlier in the lifetime of v8 than there were in v7, that was driven more about the addressing different markets. So most of the early architecture licensees for v8 in fact all the architecture licensees for v8 have been looking at markets that hasn’t traditionally served with our own base products and when it gets to market very early as some of the early guys took an architecture license, companies like Cavium, companies like Applied Micro, who really wanted to target the enterprise space, the data center, high end networking which wasn’t where ARM had traditionally played and that was a vehicle to enable them to get into that market using ARM technology. So that’s been a great vehicle for us because it has allowed us to broaden the penetration of the ARM architecture into new markets and we see that as part of our strategy for long term growth.
In terms of SBSA [ARM Server Base System Architecture covering operating systems from Linux to Microsoft] the main purpose of that work was to accelerate the deployment of SoCs into the data center. The great beauty of our model is that every customer of ours can design a chip that’s different from any other customer and when it comes to enterprise software though there is great benefit in having some of the system architecture that is actually not differentiating, standardized, so it’s easier for software developers to write code that’s going to run on these chips. So SBSA was all about standardizing the right points of the chip to accelerate software development and hence accelerate deployment of real systems. So it’s less so about SoC development as it was about software development. We have seen the uptake of SBSA in the SoC architecture by a number of our licensees. Those chips are coming to market now and with a more clearly defined target architecture for software developers the work to we should see more on deployments in ARM based service sooner. But that’s what that’s all about.
Re: Can you give us an update on the server market? Where are you in terms of the ecosystem? And roughly by when do you think we can see commercial shipments of ARM-based servers? Is that something we can see before the end of this year, or is that likely to be more a 2015 phenomenon?
So let me just briefly talk about servers, I think progress there is good. We’re starting to see silicon devices, we’re seeing a lot of effort go into software development for ARM based servers. I mean recently as an example we just saw Oracle introduce Java SE, which brings Java to many ARM-based devices and that’s very important technology for servers but again SBSA as a vehicle for accelerating software development, it is also very important and I think we will start to see commercial deployments later this year. I have been saying that sometime I still think that’s on track to happen and we will start to see volume start to take off I think probably next year but I do expect to see commercial deployment this year.
Re: … enterprise networking … since that’s quite a wide market, which goes from low-end stuff, like network interface cards, all the way up to base stations, routers, et cetera., the growth that you’re seeing, where is it coming from? …
ARM in Enterprise Networking:
On enterprise networking you mentioned there is a whole wide range of end markets that could be targeted and where are we seeing success. It really is across the range, I mean we have been in routers for a long time, more kind of commercial grade. We’re starting to see use of ARM is switches, in base stations, big base stations, small base stations. It really is across the board and in that enterprise space that is something that’s very positive for our blended average royalty rate and we’re seeing effects of that. I mean a lot of the bigger chips that I was saying are using multiple-cores. There are large numbers of Cortex-A15 is being used for example in some of the bigger chips today and that obviously has a positive impact on the royalty rate per chip on average but again given the volumes this is one of those things where every little helps and makes a small change.
ARM for the Datacenter – Ian Drew [Open Compute Project YouTube channel, Jan 31, 2014]
ARMv8-A Licensee Fact Sheet [April 23, 2014]
- Over 25 companies have licensed ARMv8-A technology
- Over 40 licenses signed for ARMv8-A technology
- Qualcomm, NVIDIA, Mediatek and Marvell have announced ARMv8-A chips for mobile devices
- LG, Rockchip and Samsung have stated their intentions to release ARMv8-A chips for mobile
- The first 64-bit mobile devices were based on ARM and shipped in 2013
- ARMv8-A 64-bit kernel and tools are available today
ARMv8-A Public Licensees
- Altera Altera’s FPGA with an embedded Cortex-A53 processor will be manufactured on Intel 14nm process.
- AMD AMD’s Opteron A1100 server chips comes in two variants: 4x or 8x Cortex-A57 processors.
- AMCC AMCC’s X-Gene server chip will feature in HP Moonshot systems this year.
- Broadcom Broadcom will release a 3Ghz 16nm ARMv8-A chip optimized for Network Function Virtualisation.
- Cavium Project Thunder SOCs will target the cloud and datacenter markets.
- Huawei Lead partner on Cortex-A57
- LG Lead partner on Cortex-A50 family and next-generation Mali GPUs. For LG devices.
- Marvell Armada PXA 1928 contains a quad-core Cortex-A53 with integrated LTE modem. Sampling Mar 2014.
- Mediatek MT6732 contains quad-core Cortex-A53 and Mali-T760.
- Nvidia The 64-bit Tegra K1 contains a dual-core ARMv8-A processor. Mobile and automotive.
- Rockchip Licensed Cortex-A57 and Cortex-A53 processors. Mobile internet and smart home markets.
- Samsung Samsung has said its first 64-bit chip for mobile devices will be based on an ARM-designed processor.
- STMicro The Sti8K range of SOCs for the Digital Home is based on Cortex-A53 and Cortex-A57 technology.
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 410, 610 and 810 chips contain Cortex-A50 processors; the 810 uses big and little cores.
Accelerating ARMv8-A Powered Server Adoption Through Collaborative Platform Standardization (SBSA) [Jeff Underhill in Smart and Connected Blog of ARM, Jan 29, 2014]
And why did I say that? I said it because as a partnership, we’re disrupting the data center market which is now in a period of unprecedented innovation. It may not be obvious but the ARM partnership has been disrupting the data center for years, as the architecture at the heart of the majority of mobile devices and many smart connected devices we’ve been indirectly impacting how hyper scale data centers are architected to address these new classes of cloud and web based workloads.
When the data center is fundamental to operating your business, as opposed to just providing supporting functions, cost savings become extremely important as they directly impact your bottom line. That’s why companies such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, Microsoft, Amazon and many more are laser-focused on reducing their Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). However, early adoption of new innovation must be balanced with deployment and management costs since the ‘T’ in TCO represents ‘Total.’ Standards are fundamental to ensure ease of deployment and cross-platform portability in the data center, and that’s why we’re excited to announce a new foundational specification that we’ve been collaborating on for a while – the Server Base System Architecture (SBSA) specification.
For those of you wanting to jump right in and read the specification you can download it here.
Competition is good; Choice fosters competition
A few years ago several ARM partners set about revisiting server design to better meet these new classes of workloads in a way that would provide the next step function efficiency improvements and, ultimately, TCO. The ARM partnership showed the world what was possible when you challenge convention and empower engineers with innovative, enterprise-grade technology building blocks whose DNA is strongly rooted in the power-efficient mobile world. Collectively we’ve already changed the industry as incumbent players have taken note and adjusted their roadmaps in favor of system-on-chip (SoC) designs.
While we’ve seen initial server success with 32-bit ARMv7 architecture-based solutions from Marvell & Texas Instruments, the arrival of 64-bit ARMv8-A architecture-based solutions marks a significant increase in the number and diversity of solutions. In addition to Applied Micro, AMD, Broadcom and Cavium have all made 64-bit announcements. Choice gives data center operators the opportunity to select best-of-breed solutions that enable them to meet their TCO goals. As a result, there is clear and growing demand for more workload-optimized solutions by a server market that was largely devoid of choice for the past 20+ years. However, as mentioned earlier data center operators are responsible for managing complex environments, and they must balance new technology adoption with any potential complexities (that a heterogeneous environment may bring).
Standards accelerate time-to-market and ease deployment
Imagine for a moment that you have a data center with thousands of existing servers. You may have a single OS running throughout your data center or you may have multiple OS’s, but either way you will likely have a single variant of each OS that deploys across all servers in your data center. Having to adopt a new and unique OS in order to roll out new and innovative hardware is not acceptable. It would quickly become unwieldy to manage and cause significant maintenance overhead (especially managing updates and patch sets to fix major bugs or security issues).
With multiple ARMv8-A architecture-based server solutions coming to market this year, it’s important to ensure that OS, firmware and software developers can rapidly develop and deploy on ARM-based servers, especially since there will be more choice and a broader diversity of solutions. The ARM partnership worked together to help ensure this would be the case when ARMv8-A architecture-based servers became a reality, and this is why the release of the ARM Server Base System Architecture (SBSA) specification is such an important milestone. The SBSA specification has been in development for some time (as evidenced by compliant silicon already existing), and represents close collaboration across the ARM partnership from software companies, OEMs and silicon partners, including: AMD, Applied Micro, Broadcom, Canonical, Cavium, Citrix, Dell, HP, Linaro, Microsoft, Red Hat, SUSE and Texas Instruments.
A large part of the ARM value proposition stems from a licensing model that empowers partners with technology building blocks on which they can innovate and develop compelling solutions. This means standardization efforts must strike a balance to avoid diluting or eliminating innovation. As owners and stewards of the ARM architecture, we are pleased to collaborate with other industry leaders to drive standards that help strike that balance and enable OS, firmware and software developers to rapidly develop and deploy on ARM-based servers.
The SBSA is a foundational specification that will evolve over time; encompassing additional capabilities such as live migration of virtual machines between different ARMv8-A architecture-based systems. It is a hardware specification that firmware, OS and virtualization companies will use to target a logical progression of platforms to accelerate development and ensure cross-platform portability.
SBSA standardizes low-level CPU and SoC attributes such as timers, interrupt controllers, watch dog timers, performance counters and also specifies minimum hardware requirements that firmware and OS vendors expect to be present. It stipulates adherence to industry standards for boot devices so that they can be managed in a consistent manner, and requires all hardware be describable or discoverable, to eliminate the need for explicit platform knowledge baked into the OS kernel. In order to provide a logical platform progression over time, the specification defines levels of standardization. This provides a common language for the ecosystem to describe SoC and software capabilities, and ensure they intersect. In the example below, each level introduces additional requirements and is a superset of the previous level (unless explicitly documented). Silicon vendors are permitted to support capabilities beyond a given level as long as software created for that level is able to run unmodified. OS vendors are able to develop support for multiple levels in a single OS offering, thereby accelerating time-to-market and reducing maintenance by ensuring they can run across all ARMv8-A architecture-based server platforms:
The ARM partnership has consistently demonstrated its ability to collaborate and address common challenges that benefit the ecosystem at large. Linaro, a not-for-profit engineering organization founded 3.5 years ago, is another great example of this. More specifically, the Linaro Enterprise Group (LEG) is focused exclusively on the development, test and up streaming of server-specific open source software. Linaro, through close collaboration with the open source community, is helping to implement some of the key software components in support of the SBSA specification. Linaro is also identifying potential areas for additional standardization that will benefit the open source community and improve software development and long-term maintainability. It’s a symbiotic relationship that will help ensure good software support exists in the Linux upstream:
ARM is excited to reach this important milestone, especially with the support of a vibrant and growing ecosystem, and we also realize there is still much work ahead to achieve the goals we’ve set for ourselves. This year represents an important inflection point for the ARM partnership as ARMv8-A architecture-based server solutions emerge and significantly extend our reach across a broader set of data center workloads representing a much broader market opportunity. The SBSA is the first of multiple specifications we expect to publicly release … so watch this space!
In the meantime, “you are now free to move around the ARM-based server ecosystem!”
ARM Ecosystem Collaborates to Deliver Initial Server Platform Standard [press release, Jan 29, 2014]
Accelerates data center software development for ARM-based servers
Cambridge, UK – 29 January 2014 – ARM® today announced the collaborative development and immediate availability of a platform standard for ARMv8-A based (64-bit) servers, known as the ARM ‘Server Base System Architecture’ (SBSA) specification. This effort included input and support from software companies such as Canonical, Citrix, Linaro, Microsoft, Red Hat and SUSE, and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) including Dell and HP along with a broad set of silicon partners. This specification provides a framework for the deployment of innovative ARM architecture-based solutions in data center applications, and it will help accelerate software development and enable portability between ARM-based platforms. This specification is focused on aligning the ARM partnership around key system elements; empowering the ecosystem to build differentiated, value-added solutions that accelerate innovation and choice in the marketplace.
Data centers demand standards-based software and hardware offerings to ensure ease of deployment and manageability. Releasing the SBSA specification marks the beginning of a broader standardization activity that will simplify the development and deployment process for the entire developer ecosystem – from silicon to software, and all the way through to end-users. This initiative will accelerate the software ecosystem for ARM-based servers by providing operating system vendors (OSVs) and independent software vendors (ISVs) the ability to deliver technology that addresses the entirety of the ARM server community, featuring a rich, broad set of devices and platforms in a common way.
“As ARM’s data center ecosystem continues its rapid growth, this milestone enables partners to focus on their innovation while building on standards that help simplify their development and accelerate their time-to-market,” said Mike Muller, chief technology officer, ARM. “As owners and stewards of the ARM architecture, we are pleased to collaborate with other industry leaders to drive standards that enable OS, firmware and software developers to rapidly develop and deploy on ARM-based servers.”
“We are extremely pleased to see ARM take these steps, which we believe are very much in line with the principles of the Open Compute Project,” said Frank Frankovsky, president and chairman, Open Compute Project Foundation. “These standardization efforts will help speed adoption of ARM in the datacenter by providing consumers and software developers with the consistency and predictability they require, and by helping increase the pace of innovation in ARM technologies by eliminating gratuitous differentiation in areas like device enumeration and boot process.” Mobility and the Internet of Things (IoT) are driving the rapid adoption of cloud-based services, and data center operators have to adapt to the shifting characteristics of these new workloads. In order to efficiently meet these demands, the industry is seeking a richer choice of targeted solutions where software portability and standardization are key deployment considerations.
ARM Partner Quotes
“Adopting industry standards and defining base platforms are essential for creating a healthy ARM-based 64-bit server ecosystem,” said Dr. Leendert van Doorn, corporate fellow and corporate vice president, AMD. “AMD is excited to have worked with ARM on the Server Base System Architecture requirements, and the public release of this specification will accelerate the adoption of ARM-based 64-bit servers.”
“With X-Gene as the first product in the industry to be SBSA compliant, AppliedMicro is in full support of the ARM server standardization efforts,” said Dr. Paramesh Gopi, president and chief executive officer, AppliedMicro. “Bringing together OS vendors, server OEMs and silicon providers to work cohesively is providing a fully inter-operable standard platform at the same time fostering innovation resulting in compelling server solutions.”
“Broadcom strongly believes in the value of standardization and ensuring software interoperability for the long-term success of the 64-bit ARM architecture,” said Ron Jankov, senior vice president and general manager, Processors and Wireless Infrastructure, Broadcom. “With the ARM 64-bit architecture, Broadcom is uniquely positioned to provide leadership in the 64-bit ARM ecosystem with server-class CPUs, best-in-class hardware acceleration, and data-center networking expertise.”
“ARM-based servers have the potential to transform the datacenter ecosystem back into a dynamic, innovative market,” said Christian Reis, vice president, Hyperscale Computing, Canonical. “We see the SBSA effort removing barriers to adoption by providing a framework for system implementation that any technology supplier can easily understand and follow. Canonical fully supports this effort and is committed to SBSA compliance for our Ubuntu Server product family.”
“Cavium’s Project Thunder will provide a family of multicore ARMv8 64-bit server-class processors for the cloud and data centers,” said Gopal Hegde, vice president and general manager, Data Center Processor Group, Cavium. “Working closely with ARM and the ecosystem, the Thunder product offering will provide a comprehensive workload optimized portfolio solution that will be interoperable across multiple management and orchestration standards. We applaud ARM’s leadership in spearheading the Server Platform Standard that will accelerate the adoption of the ARM architecture in the data center and cloud environment.”
Cavium talks about and shows their latest enterprise, data center, wired and wireless networking OCTEON and OCTEON Fusion SoCs based on ARMv8 64bit and MIPS, making customized optimized core designs for each in use for cloud servers and base stations among other. CAVIUM claims that their ARMv8 64bit enterprise/server design, due to be released later this year, provides more performance at lower power consumption than Intel´s x86.
“Citrix is the cloud company that enables mobile workstyles. Citrix is committed to open standards and has been recently engaged in the Server Base System Architecture discussion. We see the publication of the document as a positive move for the industry,” said Ahmed Sallam, vice president and chief technology officer, Hardware, Security, Emerging Solutions and IP, Citrix Systems. “The SBSA will foster the ARM-based server ecosystem and will act as a foundation for the coming years. Citrix will remain engaged in SBSA discussions and we will continue to provide our input based on what benefits our industry, partners and customers.”
“Open and standards-based technologies have been a cornerstone of Dell’s philosophy for 30 years,” said Brian Payne, executive director of server solutions for Dell. “As multiple ARMv8 server system-on-chips become available, it’s important that we can effectively deliver new innovations and freedom of choice to our customers. A well-defined, standards-based platform is instrumental in providing OS portability and a familiar user experience to our customers seeking to deploy these new classes of server offerings. We are pleased with the progress the ARM ecosystem has made towards achieving this significant goal.”
“HP has supported ARM’s standardization effort since its inception, recognizing the benefits of an extensible platform with value-added features,” said Dong Wei, HP fellow. “With the new SBSA specification, we are able to establish a simplified baseline for deploying ARM-based solutions and look forward to future HP products based on the ARM architecture.”
“The ARM architecture and business model is unique in enabling rapid innovation from multiple ARM licensees. Many companies are now building innovative and differentiated solutions for the next generation low-power data center,” said David Rusling, chief technical officer, Linaro. “ARM’s SBSA is a critical component of enabling technology to standardize the common part of these solutions, and we look forward to working with ARM and ARM’s licensees on utilizing this technology to accelerate the deployment of a broad range of ARMv8-based server products.”
“Today’s announcement of ARM Server Base System Architecture (SBSA) underscores the importance of having standards for the successful adoption and deployment of modern computer architectures, such as ARMv8,” said Jon Masters, Chief ARM Architect, Red Hat. “Red Hat’s support for standards via our participation in the Linaro Enterprise Group, our unique insight as the world’s leading supplier of Open Source server technologies and the collaborative ecosystem effort led by ARM, has enabled us to contribute to the creation of a unified common platform capable of supporting the ARM Architecture at Hyperscale”.
“SUSE has worked on and supported development around ARM processors for several years, and we anticipate ARM processor adoption in cloud, big data and high-performance computing applications,” said Ralf Flaxa, vice president of engineering, SUSE. “SUSE welcomes the SBSA standardization efforts and is proud to contribute to the server platform standard’s development. As the market emerges, this standard will become a key factor determining success in the enterprise ecosystem, and we look forward to working with platforms that implement it.”
“As an early innovator of unique server-grade KeyStone SoCs that combine digital signal processors, ARM Cortex processors, packet processing, security acceleration and Ethernet switching, TI applauds the ARM ecosystem for its collaboration on delivering the SBSA specification, ” said Bill Mills, chief technologist for open source, Texas Instruments. “Standardizations, such as SBSA, enable software simplification without impacting the innovation our heterogeneous compute elements bring to high-performance compute customers.”
To download a copy of the Server Base System Architecture specification, go to: http://infocenter.arm.com/help/index.jsp?topic=/com.arm.doc.den0029/index.html.
At the January Facebook OpenCompute Project event in San Jose, ARM announced the public release of the system base architecture specification (SBSA). Jeff Underhill [see earlier] has gone into some detail in his blog about the details included in this document. As one of the renegades that started the ARM server program several years ago, I felt it appropriate to share some thoughts as to why Jeff and I initiated this work and how it fits into the server program that ARM and its partners are feverously working on.
About a year ago, I moved out of the server marketing program to lead a number of other vertical market initiatives. I have continued to monitor (some may say I have “separation anxiety issues”) the excellent progress being made by those that have taken over the reins, including Lakshmi Mandyam who now leads this initiative.
In any market initiative, the success of ARM technology is achieved by finding the right balance between standardization and innovation. Standardization enables a software ecosystem to coalesce. To quote my business friend Frank Frankovsky, the pioneer and visonary behing the OpenCompute Project at Facebook, we need to avoid “gratuitous differentiation”; namely differences between devices that offer limited differentiation at the platform level yet cause challenge for the software ecosystem. Innovation enables silicon partners to integrate functionality that will provide specific benefits for the particular application or a set of applications. This approach encourages multiple companies to enter a particular application, giving end users and platform builders a choice of solutions from which to select. Competition is good. The pace of innovation continues at an incredible pace.
From the outset, the goal of server initiative was to bring the level of innovation seen in the mobile world to a market devoid of disruption and change for so long. This sounds easy. However achieving this balance is challenging, especially as ARM’s model is to agree on these specifications with a consensus driven culture across the partnership as opposed to mandating and imposing a particular direction. It is important for our partners to feel there are areas of system functionality that they can implement while remaining compliant with the SBSA. A reader of this specification will soon realize that the document does not prescribe the functionality of an ARM based server down at the connector or form factor level. To this end, Jeff Underhill started this standardization work when I was leading the server initiative. It is fantastic to see it coming into the public domain today.
As the press release indicates, a number of companies have come together to work on this specification. Beyond the companies that have made public announcements about their activities in the ARM server domain, little should be implied about commitments by the companies list here to build ARM products for this domain. Merely that through partnership, there is a “recipe” for ensuring a 64-bit server operating system will boot in a standard way irrespective of the ARMv8-based SoC that a platform is based on.
As I mentioned above, ARM believes that it is important to have many silicon partners pursuing a specific application domain. It fuels innovation and enables companies further down the value chain to select the device that best meets their requirements. The emergence of cloud computing has changed the mix of compute, memory and IO in the workloads. I expect this to change even more with the plethora of connected sensors that will start to communicate with hosted services. As Mike Muller, ARM’s CTO states, “Big Data starts with Little Data”. When it comes to infrastructure equipment, one size does not fit all. As many press and market analysts observed, Calxeda ceased operations last month. Calxeda was a strong pioneer in this domain and it is disappointing to seem them close their doors. That said, as evidenced at OCP with the product announcement by AMD of their Opteron™ A1100 Series based on the Cortex-A57 processor and the demonstrations of the X-Gene product in platforms by Applied Micro, there are several others rising up to carry the torch. I expect other semiconductor companies that have publically declared their intent to pursue this domain such as Broadcom & Cavium to share progress updates in the coming months and quarters.
It is perfectly fair (and indeed natural) for some industry analysts, end customers and system builders to remain skeptical. It is down to the ARM Ecosystem to demonstrate the benefits promised for server applications to shift the opinions of the doubters. Icebergs have about 90% of their mass under the surface. Just like the SBSA announcement did today, additional elements of the program will start to rise above the surface and become visible in the public domain in the coming months and years that will also help crystalize the direction of the program. I remain incredibly confident of the value proposition and the vector on which ARM and its partners are headed.
OCP Summit V 2014 kicks off the year of ARM servers [Lakshmi Mandyamon Smart and Connected Blog of ARM, Feb 15, 2014]
The last week in January was a great week for the ARM server ecosystem and we had a great week at the Open Compute Project (OCP) Summit. My OCP summit week started with an interview with my friends at ‘theCUBE’ lakshmi mandyan – YouTube. We talked about how much OCP summit had grown with attendance almost doubling from 2013 to 2014. The other conversation we had was about how OCP summit was creating a voice for “hobbyists” or the “maker movement”. Well at ARM we have been feeding the maker movement across the spectrum right from our Cortex M0 based MBED to Arduino to Rasberry Pi and now with some of the OCP platforms that were announced at the show from partners like AMD and Applied Micro the momentum continues.
The morning of OCP summit featured a “group hug” in the guise of AMD, Applied Micro and Intel all going one after the other with keynotes. Andrew Feldman of AMD delivered a great presentation on how the world has changed and the implications that change has for the data center Disruptive Technologies for the Datacenter – Andrew Feldman – YouTube he also announced that the Opteron A1100 chip, featuring 8 Cortex-A57 processors and a plethora of other integration, will be sampling in March and that they made an OCP contribution based on this processor.
Paramesh Gopi CEO of Applied Micro also shared his vision on where the X-GENE product line is evolving [with next gen X-Gene and X-Weave] to with FinFet, 16+ cores [on a die], RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE [240G I/O]) continuing to drive higher integration that will drive down TCO Paramesh Gopi, Applied Micro – YouTubeOCP Summit V – January 28, 2014 – San Jose Convention Center, San Jose, California Paramesh Gopi, Applied Micro
On day2 our CMO Ian Drew delivered a great key note titled “ARM in the Data Center” ARM for the Datacenter – Ian Drew – YouTube [was included earlier into this post] where he announced the collaborative creation and public release of the Server Base System Architecture (SBSA). My colleagues Jeff Underhill and Ian Ferguson have already blogged about that announcement in detail the links to their blogs can be found here and here respectively.
There were several articles published about the SBSA launch. A couple of my favorite quotes were:
- “We can only applaud these efforts: it will eliminate a lot of useless time investments, lower costs and help make ARM partners a real option in servers. With the expected launch of many ARM Cortex-A57 based server SoCs this year, it looks like 2014 can be a breakthrough year for ARM servers.” – Johan De Gelas, AnandTech
- “The more powerful, 64-bit designs are a threat to Intel Corp., which controls more than 95 percent of the market for chips in servers that use personal-computer processors. ARM, whose designs are found in chips that run Apple Inc.’s iPhone and iPad, is betting that the regulated designs will be cheaper to use and create a wider market for the chips.” – Amy Thomson, Bloomberg News
During the fireside chat following Ian’s keynote, Marc Andreessen was bullish on ARM in the Data Center http://youtu.be/O-gENvy0F-w . He shared how he believed that the cost burden that data centers were under was demanding a broader supply chain including players in the current smartphone supply chain. He talked about the grand unification of the data center and smart phone supply chain and how ARM based chips would be the first case study.
The momentum has continued beyond OCP summit. Dell was one of the first OEM partners for ARM when they announced their Dell Copper platform. They are continuing to invest in ARM programs, a great example being the recently announced proof of concept with Applied Micro for Hyperscale development Dell offers 64-bit ARM microserver proof-of-concept for hyperscale on the heels of Open Compute Summit momentum – Dell4… .
Last week I was doing a number of press and analyst briefings in Europe with our partner AMD on their announcement and people are clearly excited about the history AMD brings to the ARM party in terms of being a credible vendor of server technologies. It has also been fun watching them share their story about why ARM will win in the long run!
2014 is the year of ARM servers!