Applied Micro carrying the flag for dense server ARM data centers

Two announcements this week highlight commercial and academic use of ARM in dense server systems


With AMD shuttering SeaMicro and going silent on future ARM development plans earlier this month, things were looking somewhat bleak for the proponents of the ARM powered dense server model in the data center. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel if you put the most positive spin on two announcements from ARM vendor Applied Micro.

On the academic side, it was announced the the CloudLab project at the University of Utah would be powered by HP Moonshot servers using the Applied Micro X-Gene SoC solution. The UU project is focused on building efficient cloud environments that can run a variety of workloads, something that is well complemented by the dense server model. The project is succinctly described in this 90-second video.

On the business side, it was revealed today during Applied Micro's fourth quarter earnings call that payment processing powerhouse PayPal had also adopted the Applied Micro X-Gene server. Paramesh Gopi, Applied Micro CEO and president, said that PayPal had deployed and validated the Applied Micro Solution and had achieved an order of magnitude improvement in compute density.

PayPal has yet to talk publicly about its most recent changes to its data center infrastructure, but had discussed the significant changes it made in late 2014 when it rolled out their fourth dedicated data center facility.

So it appears that 64-bit ARMv8 is alive and well, if not especially robust, in the data center world. The lack of news from other ARM players, such as Cavium, and especially ARM giant Qualcomm could be interpreted as the calm before the storm that will be wide scale adoption of the latest and greatest ARM CPUs in the data center.