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ARM-Based Servers Coming In 2011 253

markass530 writes with this from the EE Times: "Arm Holdings chief executive officer Warren East told EE Times Wednesday that servers based on ARM multicore processors should arrive within the next twelve months. The news confirms previous speculation stemming from Google's acquisition of Agnilux and a recent job advertisement posted by Microsoft. East said that the current architecture, designed for client-side computing, can also be used in server applications."
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ARM-Based Servers Coming In 2011

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  • I feel little sorry for MSFT. Just a little...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Then port Windows to both.

      Microsoft will then have an arm-and-a-leg OS.

    • by vbraga ( 228124 )

      Really? Why? Windows supported Alpha and Itanium (MIPS too? I doesn't remember). It could just support ARM as well.

      • by petermgreen ( 876956 ) <.plugwash. .at.> on Friday April 30, 2010 @06:53AM (#32042418) Homepage

        The problem is more the apps, windows itself could probably be ported without too much trouble but most windows apps are likely to have code that makes x86 specific assumptions and are closed source so only the vendors can fix them.

        Emulation is an option but unless arm cores start performing a LOT better than intel cores of a similar power envelope that won't help much.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Joce640k ( 829181 )

          MS provides email, Outlook, SQL and web server applications. Why would you need anything more?

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          Microsoft would just use Windows CE as a base, and port IIS and SQL Server to it easy enough.
      • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Friday April 30, 2010 @07:00AM (#32042448) Journal

        MIPS and PowerPC. It ran competitively on most of these architectures, but the problem was always the missing third party software. If Microsoft just wants ARM servers for internal use, this wouldn't be a problem. Other people could probably manage too. Server software on Windows tends to be either written by Microsoft, open source, developed in-house, or provided by a small number of other companies. The first three mean it can just be recompiled. The fourth means that MS can apply some pressure to encourage an ARM port relatively easily.

        A lot of the win32 API makes stupid 32-bit-and-little-endian assumptions, so Windows hasn't been ported to any big endian systems (PowerPC and MIPS are biendian, and Windows ran them in little endian mode). The 32-bit assumptions are hacked in win64 by using an LLP64 model, which breaks the assumption that sizeof(void*) <= sizeof(long). This is not guaranteed by the spec, but since it's true for pretty much every platform in existence before Win64, a lot of people assume that it is.

        ARM is 32-bit and little endian, so userland Windows software should be pretty trivial to port. The only real difference you might notice is that ARM doesn't support unaligned loads, while x86 does (it's just really slow). An ARM OS can trap the exception caused by an unaligned load and emulate it, so even code that depends on it could work, just slowly. The only time you'll notice this in C code is if you are doing a lot of pointer casting - if the compiler can tell that it's an unaligned load, it will do two aligned loads, and shift-and-mask the results together. This is not exactly fast, but it's faster than an OS trap.

      • FYI: MS will now drop Itanium support after Windows2008R2 []

        "However, Windows Server 2008 R2 will be the last version of Windows Server to support the Itanium and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 will be the last version to support the Itanium.[14][15]"

        IOW: this is a marketing ploy

  • by MC68040 ( 462186 ) <henric AT digital-bless DOT com> on Friday April 30, 2010 @05:09AM (#32042060) Homepage

    I can see myself using an ARM-based linux server in the home.

    If they get proper business support from some largeish vendor pushing out rack machines then that'd be great too. All the servers I admin currently run x86 from Intel. Saying that, when idling, they're not terribly power hungry; but arm boxes should be a lot better.

    Lowering power consumption is never a bad idea for your bottom line, as long as the performance-per-watt is acceptable. The first thing I thought was that it would be useful for larger clusters of machines if the performance isn't on-par with power6/x86 server chips. At the end of the day the deal breaker will be just how much performance you can get out of their server chips, which will affect what type of environment they're suitable for.

    • by ls671 ( 1122017 ) *

      I would rather have a Linux server with feet processor instead of an arm processor:

      There seem to be a nice example on the link below:

      "This is usually when you try to bend straight in transit (storage, drop, the operation inserted in a socket, etc.) feet processor. " []

      • by Matt_R ( 23461 )

        I would rather have a Linux server with feet processor instead of an arm processor:

        I heard Tux was an extra in Happy Feet [].. ;)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wvmarle ( 1070040 )

      And how about small businesses?

      I bet those millions of servers handling an office of five people can happily do with half the horsepower and 10% of the power use.

      And I'm not just thinking of my own business.... with a 1.8 MHz or so Intel based computer idling most of the time handling the e-mail and files of my staff and me.

      • by icebraining ( 1313345 ) on Friday April 30, 2010 @06:09AM (#32042252) Homepage

        Your server is has a slower CPU than a Intel 8080?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TheRaven64 ( 641858 )

        Another advantage might be lowering the number of components. A Beagleboard would make a great low-volume server, except that it lacks any way other than USB for connecting disks and network adaptors. The same ARM core with the GPU removed and a couple of SATA and GigE controllers added would be a great SMB server platform. You could pop the OS and most apps in the flash and connect an external disk for served files. With the disk spun down, you'd be using under 2W for the rest of the system.


        • Exactly.

          My previous server was 6, 7 years old when it became my server. It did the job nicely until the hardware broke down. The current server is not serving up files any faster (the 100 Mbit LAN is the limiting factor), it is not serving the web pages or sending/receiving e-mail faster (again the network is the limiting factor), backups took a little longer but that no-one is waiting for so that doesn't matter.

          My old server probably used less power overall, so it was better for my power bill even tough

    • x86 CPUs are beasts.

      I'm wondering how well an ARM multi-core CPU would do just serving up files off a RAID array? x86 quad-core CPUs are probably total overkill for that - and perhaps not worth it because of the power consumption.

      Yep, there's a market for ARM.

    • by david.given ( 6740 ) <> on Friday April 30, 2010 @07:13AM (#32042498) Homepage Journal
      I am using an ARM-based linux server in my home. is run off a single SheevaPlug with some USB hard drives attached. This is: SMTP server (postfix), spam filter (spey), IMAP server (dovecot); web server (thttpd); Java servlet server (winstone, run in OpenJDK, interpreted. Yuck. No JIT available for ARM); my local news server (leafnode); my local DNS/DHCP server (dnsmasq); my local backup server (rsnapshot). It's also my main shell box for doing downloads and stuff.

      The whole hardware stack, UPS included, consumes about 18 watts, although this varies depending on whether the hard drives are spun up or not. Most storage is on a 64GB home-made SSD (4 x 16GB USB keys & RAID!), so it's completely silent.

      The SheevaPlug is a 1.2GHz Marvell ARMv5, with 512MB of RAM and 512MB of flash (which I'm not using). It cost me about 70 UKP. Unfortunately it's only got one ethernet port, so I've got way too much stuff hung off its single USB port --- and Marvell's USB hardware is notoriously dodgy. The new GuruPlug looks way more exciting: same processor, but two ethernet ports, more USB ports, and SATA!

    • by gmarsh ( 839707 ) on Friday April 30, 2010 @07:45AM (#32042668)

      I have a Marvell openrd-client. This thing has the guts of a Sheevaplug except it comes in a fancier case, uses a separate wall wart, has onboard video, more peripherals and a spot for a 2.5" hard drive inside.

      I've got a 500GB 5400rpm hard drive poked inside and Debian Linux installed, and it acts as a file server, music server, torrent downloader, etc. Pulls about 8 watts from the wall, though I've got video disabled, second ethernet disabled, etc. Couldn't be happier with the thing.

    • I can see myself using an ARM-based linux server in the home.

      The question is - what do you run on your home server?

      Mine is mostly a file server, so I moved over to ARM last year (on a SheevaPlug, with 2 1To USB drives, mirrored of course).

      If you run a lot of compute bound stuff you might be unhappy, but simple stuff probably doesn't need multicore.

    • On the home scale hassle very often is comparable to the benefit and the margin of benefit is comparable to economic perturbation (your car damaged by the snow truck during the freak-snowstorm of 2010, for example), while on the google serverfarm scale margin of benefit per a processor multiplied by the number of processors and can exceed economic perturbations.

      Consider the analogy: home improvements very often are similar to the desire of the intelligent particle in the medium to avoid collisions to stay t

    • by jabjoe ( 1042100 )
      You mean like the SheevaPlug? You can buy one now as a home server, it does me just fine. :-)
    • Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't the Nano [] make a better choice for a low power server chip, with its hardware based encryption support?

      As another poster said it isn't some sort of watts limbo, where the only goal is how low can you go, but more importantly how useful those watts are in actual application. The Nano will run existing x86 software, so backwards compatibility is no problem, and with security being in the forefront of everyone's minds these days it seems to me one would get better performa

  • Forgive an ignorant person, but what sorts of server-like things are we expecting ARM chips to be good at? My understanding is that the ARM architecture is focussed on a reduced instruction set and running at low power. Does this mean I'll be able to run my 10TB Oracle data warehouse on this, or would I more likely use them in my webserver farm to save on power bills?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by del_diablo ( 1747634 )

      Performance per watt.
      ARM gives performance at without massive cost of watt. Just scaling it up would mean performance.
      ARM already got performance on par with x86, but uses less then 10 times the power. Now, if people are stupid to make use of x86 for servers would not a upscaled ARM cluster beat the crap out of it? Uses less power, faster.

      And RISC means power, what buzzwords are you listening too?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Nutria ( 679911 )

        ARM already got performance on par with x86

        Pull out the benchmarks, or that's complete BS.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, 2010 @05:37AM (#32042136)

          I'd say that ARM is on par with x86 Hz vs Hz, or even better. The problem is that ARM is barely past 1 GHz while x86 is pushing towards 4 GHz. There are just now ARM processors with two high performance cores, while x86 processors are pushing past 12 cores and climbing. There are no ARM cores that I know of that does hyper threading, while almost all x86 cores do at least two way multithreading.

          So.. I'd say that we will be using x86 for high performance servers for quite some time still.
          However.. putting litterally thousands of low performance ARM cores in a 3U enclosure would certainly be good for some server applications.

          • by Nutria ( 679911 )

            I'd say that ARM is on par with x86 Hz vs Hz, or even better.

            With all the caching and pipelineing and uber-high speed memory buses that x86 has, which ARM doesn't, I just don't believe you.

            IOW, benchmarks or you're full of shit.

            • by dkf ( 304284 ) <> on Friday April 30, 2010 @06:36AM (#32042344) Homepage

              IOW, benchmarks or you're full of shit.

              Benchmarks are BS too. Better to check out the in-depth analyses in Microprocessor Report (that was certainly the source for this sort of thing back when I was doing this sort of hardware).

              Generally speaking (at a very gross approximation!) the biggest factor in speed seems to be feature size, and ARM cores run cooler than x86 cores. ARM have focussed on the low-power end of the market far more than Intel and AMD (who have been duking it out at the high-speed end) and this means that for some applications, their stuff is absolutely best. I don't know whether that's true for server-class computing; the lower power consumption will get better packing densities but whether that will compensate for the reduced computational power I just don't know.

              Of course, a good benefit in the "small server" market would be being able to run normal workloads without active cooling (i.e., fans) in a normal room. That would save loads on power and aircon. (And I know for one thing that there are ARM cores that can cope with very wide temperature variations. It's impressive when you see someone torturing a CPU with a hairdryer and – straight after – some dry-ice...)

            • by fbjon ( 692006 ) on Friday April 30, 2010 @07:23AM (#32042562) Homepage Journal

              ARM cores have both cache and pipelines, y'know? But lets find those benchmark results by making them ourselves:

              Using one core on an AMD X2 2,8GHz and an ARM Cortex A8 core at 600MHz on a beagleboard, I've done some tests. Cache-optimized matrix multiplication of two matrices at 600x600 takes 0.45 seconds on the AMD, and 4.57 seconds on the A8. That's about 10x slower. However, the A8 (in an OMAP3530 package) produces just under 1W of heat. The TDP for the AMD is 65W, but since it's dual-core let's take half of that, plus an additional 20% fuzz factor because the TDP is the maximum rating.

              By this slightly fuzzy, synthetic but memory-heavy benchmark, the performance-per-watt difference is about 2,5x in favor of the ARM Cortex A8 core. One core of an AMD X2 would have to put out below 10W to beat the A8. By my fuzzy math that would mean a TDP of 25W or below for the processor.

              There you go, you're welcome! :)

              • by rugger ( 61955 )

                Once you start pushing the performance envelope with the ARM core, your performance-per-watt advantage will become less pronouced.

                The ARM processor looks so good in your benchmark because it is really not asking much of the silicon at all. Increase the ARM processor's clock rate to 3ghz, and you will need to add:

                1) More cache to prevent memory core starvation
                2) More voltage to make the silicon transistors switch faster.

                This will cause the ARM processor to create a LOT more heat.

                The key will be to find an ac

                • by fbjon ( 692006 )
                  But isn't that the whole point? Push for server performance by adding more processors, and you keep the performance per watt. If you really need fast individual cores for something that doesn't parallellize, it won't work, but I'd imagine the average web server farm would benefit.
              • Is this floating point multiplication? ARM processors are known for their usually horrible FP support.
    • by Nutria ( 679911 ) on Friday April 30, 2010 @05:21AM (#32042098)

      Does this mean I'll be able to run my 10TB Oracle data warehouse on this,

      Softpedia also points out that there was also no indication that the company plans to go head to head with Intel's Xeon and AMD's Opteron series

      Most probably not, and definitely not if Oracle doesn't generate ARM binaries...

      or would I more likely use them in my webserver farm to save on power bills?

      Instead ARM may limit its options to the print and storage server market.

      That's a possibility too.

    • Low end stuff.
      It simply can't do the high end stuff even when clocked at 2+Ghz as ARM is still a 32bit processor (there are some 64bit instructions but we're talking memory bus here).

      I'm not aware of any ARM that can address more than 4GB of memory.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Nutria ( 679911 )

        Low end stuff.

        And the racks upon racks of servers that average 10% capacity. Why couldn't many of them be ARM-based? (Except for the fact that they run Windows.)

        • Well that's my point. That sort of thing is what the ARM will be good at. Low end stuff.
        • You're making some questionable assumptions. Of course ARM is barely at 1ghz and doesn't have the various performance enhancements that the x86 processor family does, they've been focused on embedded devices and now some netbooks. ARM also lacks the legacy kludge that the x86 chips have as well. At some point there's going to have to be some revision of the processor to get rid of the stuff that hasn't been useful in 20 years.

          But more than that, if there is an actual market for ARM based servers, all the
      • That means it still can do stuff that only a few years ago we called "high end". It is just not top-of-the-line. And what many geeks and nerds tend to forget is that >90% of any market is in the lower end.

    • Whilst ARM processors do have excellent MIPS/Watt the processors do have lower clock rates, smaller cache, slower/narrower buses so I do n't see these being very useful for general purpose multi user servers. However if your application is mainly I/O bound and you can do most of it via DMA they would be great. I can imagine for google they make alot of sense, however for something that runs on PHP like facebook less so.

    • by MemoryDragon ( 544441 ) on Friday April 30, 2010 @06:09AM (#32042262)

      They can be excellent as fileservers/cloud stuff, given their performance per watt ratio, dont expect that a computing intensive task is run on them (they are barely 2-3x as fast as an atom in their recent incarnations, but at a fraction of the power an atom uses)
      but they are an excellent choice for io intensive cloud like tasks where you need a load of machines and have a vfs sitting on top of it.

    • by Alioth ( 221270 )

      Anything concurrent.

      I know that one of the original developers of the ARM CPU is working on a massively multicore ARM-based project (tens of thousands of cores). Apart from just the low power aspect of ARM, what makes it good for hugely multicore projects compared to x86 is that an entire ARM core is smaller than just the part of an x86 processor that figures out the length of the next instruction - x86's ISA becomes a huge ball and chain if you want to make a massively multicore system.

    • Far from all servers are used in data centres.

      Far from all servers have a typical >50% load on their processor.

      There certainly is a huge market out there for small, lower-end servers for which your average Intel based box is simply huge overkill.

  • Low power per operation and all that?


    • My RAQ2 is still going strong, home server, uses according to a kill-a-watt meter about 20 watts, which I could reduce significantly by replacing the old 80 gig IDE with a laptop drive and adapter.

      Apart from that, runs stone cold, fanless, so silent, and 100% reliable.

      I've tried to talk up MIPS / Cobalt before, but it has fallen on stony ground, frankly I think most /. readers just have zero hands on knowledge of these devices.

      The RAQ550 and XTR (got 2 each of them too) were abominations by comparison with

      • Cobalt was bought by Sun which was bought by Oracle IIRC. Also Cobalt delved into X86 processors later in their design cycle. MIPS was not cheap enough.

        AFAIK there are some Chinese CPUs which are MIPS compatible (Loongson) and Tilera's design is also MIPS like.

      • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 )

        While I agree with you completely, it doesn't seem like it's possible to find MIPS based devices for sale any longer, short of the occasional ancient device or Chinese netbook via eBay.

        I suspect the licensing costs are too high or something like that. Back around ~2000 there were a number of handhelds/portables that had MIPS processors; later versions had SmartARM and were not proportionately faster (by clock). MIPS does not appear to have matured as fast as ARM has in terms of most modern features, either

    • I guess they never could license it properly, or the licensees lack volume. Also MIPS R&D was usually done by SGI. Well SGI was never exactly interested neither in low power, nor in being cheap. I guess that matters.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Depending on your needs you can already use ARM servers. This is perfect as a dns server, dhcp server, firewall, mail server or even a webserver on a small network. I really like using those devices as 'physical virtual servers': ideal as an isolated, task oriented server for tasks that do not need a full fledged server.

    I have one of these at home (with Debian on it and a 2TB hard disk attatched).

    • by Nursie ( 632944 )

      Hell, you could do that with an NSLU2, running an arm core at 266MHz with 32MiB of RAM and an external drive. That *and* a simple torrent box.

      You can do much more with a sheevaplug, mine has a full vnc server and gnome running on it at reasonable speed, or at least it had before I emigrated and gave it away. An OpenRD box should be fully capable of being a basic linux desktop machine.

  • It is nice to see some alternatives to the x86-monoculture coming along, but I wish MIPS was still around, it is a beautiful architecture with the same efficiency advantages of Arm but an even cleaner design.

    • by ishobo ( 160209 )

      Still around? MIPS is going strong in the embedded market. My company works on transit systems and MIPS represents about half of our work. There are lots of networking products that uses MIPS, from the customer to the core. RMI has a MIPS64 eight core SoC with four threads per core.

      • I'm aware that MIPS is alive and well in the embedded world, but it has pretty much disappeared from the server market where it used to have a very strong presence.

        Also, for somebody just interested in playing around with alternative architectures, it has become harder and harder to find cheap MIPS systems to play around with (the PS2 was a mips system, but the PS3 is PPC, the PSP is probably the only easily 'hackable' MIPS hardware still being produced in considerable quantities).

        And yes, I'm aware of the

        • by sznupi ( 719324 )

          Well, PS2 is a MIPS system...production continues and Sony stated it will continue as long as demand for consoles and games is there (new ones scheduled for this year, too)

          That's probably in large part due to so called "3rd world" countries, but I'm sure you can pick one up easily where you are.

          • AFAIK recent PS2 systems do no support Linux or other OSes. But I must admit that I have not kept up with the homebrew community.

            I do know that the PSP has a cpu similar to that of the PS2, and that it has been hacked and has a healthy homebrew community, but still, it is not the same as a really open and documented system.

        • by Nursie ( 632944 )

          Depends what you want to hack. My Netgear ADSL router is MIPS based and runs linux so you can roll your own distro if you want.

          Not that I did, but I like that the option's there.

      • by Nursie ( 632944 )

        Also, just to add to your list, the Sony PSP runs on MIPS IIRC

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TeknoHog ( 164938 )
      You can get a MIPS64 netbook today, it's called Lemote Yeeloong.
  • by reporter ( 666905 ) on Friday April 30, 2010 @05:46AM (#32042176) Homepage
    ARM is almost like a fairy tale in which the underdog triumphs. ARM was developed on a shoestring budget by a small team of brilliant anti-establishment engineers. By contrast, the x86 processor was developed on a multi-million-dollar budget by a large team of disciplined slaves across 2 continents.

    ARM is David. x86 is Goliath.

    Most of us inherently favor David.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by devent ( 1627873 )
      I favour anyone who can build and deliver a laptop with 12 hours battery live. In addition, a low power ARM server for office work (small and middle enterprise) is a nice to have, too. I think most users don't give a piece if it's x86 or ARM, as long as their applications are running and it's a good deal. I, for myself, am really glad finally see any innovation in desktop CPUs. I thought in 20 years we will still be using x86 compatible CPUs.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        I've always thought that the x86 architecture is a dead horse beaten to the speed of light. It is the 21th century and we need something slightly better than rocks and sticks and x86 to throw at the old monstrosity known as computation. If we're still going to depend on x68 in 20 years I'd rather kill myself by banging my head against an x86 chip.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by sznupi ( 719324 )

        Thing is, quite cheap and rather small laptops based on Intel CULV chips showed up recently; some of them certainly can do 10h, perhaps there are some with 12h. And they are fast, if needed.

        On top of that, if I look at announcements of ARM netbooks - even though they will be purposely quite limited machines, it doesn't appear like manufacturers want a price reflecting that. Certainly not as long as there's not much competition yet, as long as they can offer it as a "premium" machine. Which has a big chance

    • Of course, you can spin it another way. ARM is an IP company - they don't make chips, they make IP (their architecture specifications, and their CPU designs) that they then license to other companies. Then again, they're not a patent troll, their IP is generally fairly good (even if the various architecture versions and features are ridiculously confusing,) and they actually do license it, rather than just keep it so they can sue people.

      • They also usually license designs rather than just ideas.

        The architecture licences (to Intel and others) may be exceptions.

    • s/anti establishment/shoestring budget and you are correct :-)
      ARM nowadays is a big company but originally it was a sidedevelopment for the next BBC machine.

      • I used to run MS-DOS (*) in the x86 software emulator on my 4-8MHz (**) ARM2-based BBC Archimedes in 1987 - some people then refused to believe this was even possible.

        (*) MS-DOS 5.2 IIRC - I needed the TopSpeed Modula2 compiler for my programming assignments & WordPerfect to open some docs.

        (**) 4 MHz when reading ROM, 8 MHz when reading RAM (there was a command to copy the entire ROM into RAM in Arthur 0.2/RISC OS 1.2)
    • by Zoxed ( 676559 )

      > ARM is David. x86 is Goliath.

      ARM is British. x86 is from that-place-across-the-water-that-seems-to-be-doing-quite-well. :-)

      • Israel? I thought that was where the current Intel Architecture was designed?
        • by Zoxed ( 676559 )

          > Israel? I thought that was where the current Intel Architecture was designed?

          Although my post did not mention it I was thinking of where it was *invented*. AFAIK the 8086 was created by Intel in the USA. But I could be wrong :-(

  • Competition is good. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by robcfg ( 1005359 )
    After many years, Intel finally has some challenge. And for those of you who doubt what ARM chips are able to do, I'll tell that I've been surfing the web and chatting through MSN Messenger on an Acorn A7000+, which runs on a 48 Mhz ARM 7500FE. Now, if they can raise that to 2ghz, I see very nice performance while still retaining a fairly low power consumption.
  • I requested a small server for a project at work - the minimum my shop buys is an 8-way,16GB beast. I need to run 1 single-threaded app, and I get this.

  • by threaded ( 89367 ) on Friday April 30, 2010 @07:16AM (#32042514) Homepage

    What's the point of a Beowulf cluster if it doesn't cause the lights to dim when you're performing your mad scientist calculations?

  • Inevitably, somebody will try a server running Windows mobile or one of the other phone OSes, and have no multitasking or cut and paste, and which runs only SilverLight or XNA apps. Oh the humanity.
    • The Casio IT500 (Windows CE 4) shipped out-of-the-box with running web, FTP and telnet services. I have no idea why, since it was the sort of thing you'd use to scan package barcodes in a warehouse.
  • by IGnatius T Foobar ( 4328 ) on Friday April 30, 2010 @08:03AM (#32042758) Homepage Journal

    As the cost of energy continues to rise (due to purely political reasons rather than any actual scarcity, which is sad) there's going to be more and more demand for computing equipment with low power consumption. ARM fits that requirement nicely ... and it's all going to be running Linux, even if Microsoft enters the game.


    Windows running on ARM would suffer from the same (imho perceived) problem that desktop Linux on x86 has: it wouldn't be able to run Windows x86 binaries. In fact, for Microsoft it would actually be worse because they'd have to deal with irate customers who thought they'd be able to pop in that CD and install some application they already own.

    Linux has been playing this one well by establishing a large base of open source software that can be built on any platform. Combine this with your favorite APT or YUM repository and what do you get? The equivalent of an "app store" which is something the world is now quite familiar with. Linux for the win!/p?

  • by DrDitto ( 962751 ) on Friday April 30, 2010 @08:35AM (#32042936)
    ARM currently supports 4 GB of memory since the ISA is 32-bits. Full 64-bit addessing support is years away. Interim "PAE" extensions will be just as ugly and unused as the x86 PAE.
  • I'm a bit disappointed that this is coming to pass, as it was a venture project I wanted to possibly get into at some point. I saw the potential, but obviously someone else did, too...

    Thus, I might be able to have ARM servers. That excites me. Thermal and power issues at the data center have always been an issue, as I'm sure they have for everyone.

    And realistically, many (if not most) systems don't need the power of a multicore Xeon server. I've got older P4 era infrastructure systems which barely even see

  • I'm already running an Arm based server. It's called a QNAP NAS and the TS419P runs a Marvell Feroceon CPU "Feroceon 88FR131 rev 1 (v5l)" (cpuinfo).

    It's running Debian Lenny (2.6.30-2-kirkwood) and thanks go to the Debian Arm team and Martin Michlmayr. Runs great.


    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Nursie ( 632944 )

      I too would like to thank Martyn.

      I used to run two NSLU2s, now I have a sheevaplug. His work enabled me to turn them all into debian boxes.

      How is the QNAP stuff? What's the core speed/RAM?
      Was toying with buying one but they were expensive compared to sheeva. Of course you have to get the disk caddy extra for the plug.

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky