ARM processor-based cloud servers are big on potential, but for now, they fall a bit short on actually powering cloud services. That’s about to change, and quickly too, judging by the meteoric rise of the open source cloud platform that’s just now making the jump from x86 processors to ARM chips.
First, a little background.
Chips based on ARM’s microarchitecture are commonly found in smartphones and tablets, device classes that place as much of a premium on battery life as on performance. As a rule, ARM chips are very energy efficient.
Recently, big server makers like Dell and HP have been exploring how to use the lower-power chips to handle certain computing workloads — particularly Web services. It’s a technology shift that could usher in an era of energy efficient cloud data centers. But first, it’s going to take an ecosystem that’s bigger than just a couple of IT vendors.
Incoming: An OpenStack Cloud ARMy
Things are looking a bit brighter now following the announcement that the popular open source cloud platform, OpenStack, is getting an ARM version. Sean Michael Kerner (@TechJournalist) over at ServerWatch reports:
OpenStack is set to be available on ARM for users to try out via the Trystack effort. TryStack debuted in February of this year as a way for user to ‘try’ OpenStack in a freely available hosted environment.
And there’s another exciting aspect to the news. Calxeda, the ARM server startup, will help make it happen.
Calxeda is part of HP’s Project Moonshot effort, which is bringing ARM based scale-out computing hardware to the market. The first Moonshot servers powered by Calxeda ARM are codenamed Redstone and provide massive scalability of up to 2,800 servers in a single rack.
Any way you look at it, it’s a shot in the ARM server ecosystem (pun fully and painfully intended).
The move also helps pave the way toward a new generation of green cloud data centers. Mark Collier, VP of Marketing and Business Development for OpenStack at Rackspace told InternetNews — ServerWatch’s news service — “If you look at how big data centers are getting, we know that power is the biggest driver of cost.”
“So I’m bullish on ARM as a disruptive technology,” he added. With OpenStack in play, he’s got reason to be.
Get the full OpenStack on ARM story here.