Despite announcements from just about every other player looking for a piece of the ARM system-on-a-chip (SOC) market that their next generation products would be based on the new 64-bit ARM V8 specifications, category originator Calxeda is sticking to their 32-bit guns for their 2nd generation of products, scheduled for 2013.
With a business strategy that is focused on delivering power and performance optimized racks for datacenter and cloud operations Calxeda has been putting much of their effort into developing better technology and improved performance and efficiency for the interconnection aspects of the massively dense SOC implementations that are their focus. The more flexibility that the architecture can provide, the better that they are able to tailor all of the components of their solution (networking, I/O, storage, computing) to solving specific customer issues.
It’s not that Calxeda isn’t developing 64-bit designs, it’s just that they see advancing their 32-bit designs and shipping product is a better choice than standing pat while the industry waits for 64-bit ARM servers to hit the market. Calxeda believes that the 32-bit products will be suitable for their current optimized rack designs and that the eventual appearance of their 64-bit product, codename Lago, will give them the edge to move their servers from specialized application devices to the right solution for warehouse-scale datacenters. They are claiming that their 64-bit product will be right in amongst the wave of 64-bit ARM servers that are expected to hit the market in 2014.
To facilitate the adoption of next-generation 64-bit servers Calxeda is introducing third-generation scaling technology, called Calxeda Fleet Services which is designed to automate the scaling and optimization of common services across their servers on a massive scale (they’ve had a job posting looking for distributed software engineers on their site since mid-September).
As the number of vendors in the ARM server space continues to increase, it is the quality of the hardware beyond the CPU and the ability for automated management and optimization that will be the major piece of the decision process for customers looking at ARM-based servers as a viable solution ot their datacenter needs.