ARM-based processors can be found in almost any mobile device these days. The design approach taken by ARM Holdings (NASDAQ: ARMH) in creating its processors require significantly fewer transistors that the typical x86 processors found in many personal computers and they tend to consume less energy.
So it’s only natural that some people would think the low energy technology could be adopted to develop ARM-based servers. The concept has largely remained a good idea at least until today, when Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) announced two new ARM-based servers, including the one that is aimed at large enterprise companies.
Part of the HP ProLiant Moonshot portfolio, the new servers are “designed to address IT demands with a vast pool of processing resources that can be located anywhere, scaled to any workload and available at any time,” according to an HP statement. ProLiant Moonshot servers deliver high-density, ARM-based systems for hyperscale, data centre environments to help customers improve application performance, drive business innovation and deliver breakthrough data centre economics.
The new HP ProLiant m400 servers, based on the X-Gene, Server on a Chip from Applied Micro Circuits Corporation with Canonical Ubuntu operating system, saves on power, cooling and space, providing up to 35 per cent reduction in total cost of ownership compared to rack servers.
“ARM technology will change the dynamics of how enterprises build IT solutions to quickly address customer challenges,” said Antonio Neri, senior vice president and general manager, servers and networking, HP.
HP said the development of the 64-bit HP ProLiant m400 server took several years and included lots of customer input and ARM ecosystem expansion.
ARM licenses the design of its processors to other companies such as Qualcomm which manufactures ARM chips found in many smart phone devices. There have been other initiatives develop ARM-based servers but results have not been great.
For example, Texas-based Calxeda had to shut down last December the ARM processor server project it started in 2011 because of lack of funding. Dell is still developing its own 64-bit ARM micro server proof-of-concept while AMD still has to get its own ARM server chip project started.
To address the demand for high-performance, energy efficient solutions, HP is also extending the reach of the growing ARM ecosystem. The ProLiant Moonshot ARM-64 Developer Program, part of the HP AllianceOne program, will enable developers to test and port code stacks and solutions to the ARM architecture. This will enable developers to design fully-featured software on an ARM-based 64-bit system by remotely accessing the HP ProLiant Moonshot Discovery Lab.
Additionally, the ARM ecosystem on the HP ProLiant Moonshot servers will be further expanded with the following solutions:
— Canonical offers Ubuntu, and orchestration tools Juju and Metal-as-a-Service (MAAS) software pre-installed on HP ProLiant Moonshot servers to enable customers to deploy complex workloads quickly
— Available today IBM Informix is the only commercially available database to run HP’s new micro server architecture-ProLiant Moonshot. Informix offers a unique combination of flexible grid technology and efficient data architecture that can enable commercial grade workloads to take advantage of these new server architectures