news report hp cooking up arm based servers

Report: HP cooking up ARM-based servers

ARM is a serious threat to Intel in the mobile space—no doubt about that—but it’s also starting to nip at Intel’s heels in the server market. Bloomberg says two people “familiar with the matter” claim that HP is gearing up to release some servers based on ARM technology.

Word from the unnamed sources is that HP “is working on the chips” with Calxeda, a Texas firm part-owned by ARM. The report doesn’t go into much more detail, but Calxeda’s website does. By the look of it, the firm is is doing some pretty interesting things with ARM chips in servers:

Calxeda is bringing revolutionary computational efficiency to the data center, leveraging ultra-low power ARM processors as the foundation for next generation server designs. . . . We are working with several large and small system vendors who are designing servers that will contain many hundreds of cores in a 2U server chassis. A single Calxeda server node, complete with memory and integrated inter-node fabric scaling to thousands of nodes, will only consume 5 watts, enabling new server designs that could even be battery or solar powered, and withstand harsh environmental conditions.

Intel shouldn’t lose any sales to HP quite yet, though. Calxeda says it will release “early platforms for proof of concept projects” later in the year, and it doesn’t expect volume production to kick off until some time in the first half of 2012.

0 responses to “Report: HP cooking up ARM-based servers

  1. I really think if TSMC and GF step up successfully it could be a pretty big change considering what they manufacture, but they do seem to be plagued with problems.

  2. That’s more my point: far more linux apps are tuned for x86 (esp high volume items like web/db servers) over ARM. It’s ultimately a chicken and egg situation where app developers want to support newer hardware on linux, but won’t until makers start targetting linux.

  3. TSMC and GF are having teething issues. They are going to end up the primary manufacturer for more and more companies that used to use their own fabs, which actually concentrates all of the money and effort into fewer places and allows more direct competition with Intel.

    Also, Samsung has been keeping up with Intel. They beat them to some things and only fall slightly behind at others.

    Intel’s advantage lies almost exclusively in the high performance side of x86, but that’s not tomorrow’s fight.

  4. OpenVZ (the open source part of Parallels Virtuozzo) runs on ARM ( It’s a containers approach to virtualization, but you can get some awesome density for Bind and Apache that way.

    Then there is KVM, which is in the process of getting ported to the ARM architecture.

  5. while I agree that intel is not going to succeed with ARM, at least nothing shows any signs of being competitive, I disagree that a: ARM is going to lose and b: anyone non-intel is going to lose.

    When you look at the real market, each brand has changed drastically. Nvidia still has (quite sadly) an overwhelming and typically unethical presence in PC gaming but also strong in server situations that involve discreet graphics cards. AMD basically won a clean sweep of all the next generation consoles, and ARM is ARM! They re the ones who are “licensing *to* Intel”. Do you realize that ARM is not the only company competing against intel, but an entire flood of ARM processors from multiple companies? TI makes ARM processors too, for example.

    ARM is based on how much these days? that company is printing money right now. [url<][/url<] Intel cannot get around products in which AMD and ARM excel - low budget items. High end performance is only one part of the market, and the low voltage intel processors completely suck. Unless intel magically gets a deal with apple on mobile (which won't happen since apple fabs their own ARM chips), intel is boned.

  6. As I understand it, the majority of servers are running Linux anyway, and Linux runs quite well on ARM.

  7. This is just the beginning. ARM will invade a lot of Intel’s traditional hunting grounds and Intel will try to counter by going into ARM’s. Unfortunately, Intel’s still of the opinion that performance in x86 processing matters for devices you carry in your pocket every day. At least ARM understands the need for performance in the areas they’re moving into.

    That said, based on TSMC and GF’s latest and greatest processes, I think Intel’s going to win not because of superior design or ideas, but because of their fab advantage. And ARM, AMD, nVidia, and anyone else relying on non-Intel fabrication is going to lose big.

  8. Linux web servers, distributed databases, many other cloud workloads come to mind and Windows is going ARM soon. Virtualization doesn’t make everything more efficient.

  9. OCZ will get there first, the things performance will be an order of magnitude faster than the competition…..
    but the BIOS will be buggy and be revised once a week
    and the Finance Departments will be angry because their rebate applications are always rejected.

  10. ARM servers? You can squeeze plenty of ARM chips/cores into a 2U chassis, but what are you going to run? What virtualized OS + management interface is highly available on ARM? Xen and VMWare thrive on the hardware virtualization that lives on Intel and AMD chips.

  11. How long before they change their minds? Can we get some bets? Better yet – will they start it and then try selling it off in less than a year?

    Inquiring minds want to know.