The Fedora Project, an open-source collaboration project supported by Red Hat and the developer community, rolled out its first Fedora-powered high-density ARM-based datacenter servers this week, in a migration that was the first time it was able to use standard tools, such as Kickstart and PXE on ARM-based datacenter hardware.
The new hardware, a cluster of four 24 SOC Viridis high-density ARM servers using Calxeda SOCs built by server vendor Bostion Limited, leveraged the most recent version of Fedora (Fedora 18), which included these standard tools for ARM CPUs. This implementation is a major step toward making ARM a significant part of the core Fedora architecture. It's also the first migration for Project Fedora to a production ARM datacenter-level server, using standard tools and off-the-shelf datacenter hardware.
That's probably the most significant part of this development: The hardware environment that Fedora 18 was moved to is already in commercial production and in use with other versions of the Linux operating system. As Fedora is basically synonymous with Red Hat, this is a direction that was necessary in order for the Red Hat business to remain competitive in all aspects of the future datacenter.
That's pretty much why the goal of this rollout is to accelerate Fedora's community development of the ARM port at the datacenter level, hoping to catch the wave of ARM acceptance as a datacenter server standard. The current hardware is still only 32 bit, however, which means that there will need to be a significant hardware upgrade in the not too distant future as 64-bit ARM SOC hardware begins to appear, allowing for development on that platform, which will likely be the primary datacenter standard.