Dell to demo 64-bit ARM server

Dell to demo 64-bit ARM server

Summary: The demo highlights what's possible, but Dell will launch 64-bit ARM servers "when customer and ecosystem readiness are aligned."


Dell will demonstrate a 64-bit ARM server running Fedora as it stumps for its hyperscale data center unit.

The demonstration, which will happen at the ARM TechCon conference, includes chip company AppliedMicro, ARM, PMC and Red Hat.

Dell has been pushing microservers, but primarily focused on 32-bit efforts and longtime partner Intel. Like HP, Dell is eyeing ARM as a way to sell more power-efficient servers, but has been cagey about an actual launch.

arm dell

According to Dell, the ARM server ecosystem is still developing, but the company added that 64-bit ARM architectures will deliver power and performance advantages.

The key points:

  • Dell's microserver will run AppliedMicro's 64-bit system on a chip with PMC's 16-port 12Gb/s SAS storage.
  • ARM Holdings is tagging along with Dell as it aims to get more server share and the licensing that goes with it.
  • Dell's ARM efforts are still developing. The company said it is supportive of 64-bit ARM servers to general availability, but didn't provide dates. Dell will launch 64-bit ARM servers "when customer and ecosystem readiness are aligned."


Topics: Servers, Data Centers, Dell, ARM

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  • With the caveat that they're not more power efficient any more.

    So it's pretty much a yawner. Intel beat arm them to low power 64bit, and their perf is much better.
    Johnny Vegas
    • There are lots of ways to measure "power efficiency."

      For an application where a server spends a lot of time waiting around for something to do, a 64-bit ARM implementation could require many fewer watt-hours compared to a x64-based server performing the same task(s). Yeah, Google isn't going to save any power running on ARM servers, but for many SMB applications, the cost savings of power and equipment could be non-negligible.
      • Cost savings, and the lack thereof

        @matthew_maurice: "Yeah, Google isn't going to save any power running on ARM servers, but for many SMB applications, the cost savings of power and equipment could be non-negligible."

        The problem is that saving money by using less power is only a big win if you've got a lot of servers. This is especially true if you're paying a premium for the low power servers. Paying $100 more up front and then saving $50 a year in power/cooling is worthwhile at data center scale. If your an SMB with a couple of servers, it doesn't make much difference. Even if acquisition cost is equal, the power savings still don't add up to a lot of money unless you've got a lot of servers.
        • Virtualisation

          But surely if you 'have lots of servers', the power win is from having less servers, and associated infrastructure, and making them do more. Sweating your assets, with VMWare/Cloud Platform/CloudStack/OpenStack etc.

          Having lots of servers, consuming lower levels of power, but doing bugger all much of the time is a waste of power and capital.
          • It's all about economies of scale ...

            You're correct, Neil -- every company, small or large, should get "the most" (or at least a high percentage of) performance out of whatever hardware they have, or they're wasting money.

            But johndoe's point was that the savings only works at large scale deployments. Assuming an SMB were to run VMware, etc. on whatever hardware they get, they wouldn't save much/any money if they buy 64-bit ARM servers at a premium but save a few bucks a year on power. That savings is pretty insignificant unless you have hundreds (if not thousands) of servers. To use johndoe's example: Spending $100 extra per server to save $50, saves you $50 over 3 years with one server. But with 1000 servers, it saves $50,000 over 3 years ... $100,000 over 4.

            An SMB should definitely get the most out of their hardware, but this won't save them much, in the long run. Big companies, though, do stand to benefit.
  • Its a new developing market

    Listen, 15, even 10, years ago no one would have thought that ARM, the consumer chip, would be in the Enterprise, back then it didn't even occur to anyone, the chips were too consumer oriented.

    But now, ARM chips run the vast majority of consumer mobile devices, within 5 years I believe that they will run the vast majority of COMMERICAL applications, like POS.

    They already run nearly 100% of industrial embedded applications.

    Servers will be no different, right now, you will pay an Early Adopter premium, but within 5 years as the competition heats up, Intels costs will not be able to compete with ARM.

    Dell and HP aren't betting on a single chip generation, they are betting on the FUTURE roadmap too, and I bet that roadmap makes sense because if it didn't they wouldn't spend the millions on R&D...