Qualcomm demonstrates 24-core ARM server SoC

Qualcomm is making a move on the server market. Yesterday, the company took the wraps off its Server Development Platform (or SDP), a system based on a 24-core ARMv8-A SoC. The SDP is aimed at "hyperscale data center customers" and infrastructure-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service, big data, and machine-learning workloads. Qualcomm says it's sampling SDPs to "tier-one data centers" now.

The 24-core prototype chip inside the SDP doesn't have a catchy name, but Qualcomm says it's built on a FinFET process and includes server-class PCIe and storage interconnects. The company demonstrated the SDP with a software stack including a KVM Linux hypervisor, OpenStack DevStack, and guest Linux distributions running Apache and WordPress. Qualcomm says commercial versions of the SDP SoC will use a fully-custom core, also built on a FinFET process.

Qualcomm and Xilinx will work together to combine Xilinx's FPGA technology with these upcoming server CPUs. The companies say this joint effort will encompass "multiple product generations, ranging from card level to highly-integrated solutions." The integration of FPGAs with CPUs has applications in "compute acceleration, big data analytics, machine learning, storage, and CloudRAN," according to the companies' joint announcement.

Qualcomm also announced that it's working with Mellanox Technologies to offer Ethernet and InfiniBand interconnects compatible with its server SOCs. This collaboration is meant to ease deploying Qualcomm-based servers at scale using those interconnects.

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