HP snubs Intel with ARM server chips

IT giant reportedly planning to ship servers that run on ARM chips, posing challenge to Intel which counts HP as its biggest customer, report says.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor

Hewlett-Packard (HP) is reportedly planning to offer servers running on ARM, posing a potential challenge to Intel's dominance in the market.

According to a Bloomberg report, the computer giant would begin shipping servers running on low-power chips built by U.S.-based Calxeda, a company partly owned by U.K.-based ARM Holdings. Citing sources, who declined to be identified as the plans had yet to be made public, the report said the move would intensify ARM's rivalry with Intel which accounts for about 90 percent of the server chip market. ARM had outlined plans to enter the US$9 billion server-processor market by building chips that would help companies rein in the cost of maintaining expanding fleets of servers.

Calxeda designs chips based on technology more commonly used in mobile phones, to create processors for cheaper servers that consume less electricity. Such machinary is increasingly used in cloud computing centers, which provide remote access to the network and business applications.

"One of the biggest issues today in the server farms is power management," Michael Inglis, ARM's vice president said in the report, but added that he could not comment on agreements before their official announcement. Although he declined to discuss specific customers, Inglis clarified that ARM-based chips would appear first in machines used to support basic access to Web sites, then used in more powerful systems. "As we move forward into 2014, you'll begin to see systems emerging," he said.

Laura Beck, a spokesperson for Calxeda, also declined to comment on a possible accord with HP. Calxeda has a product release event scheduled for Nov. 1, she said, without providing additional details.

According to IDC, the market for server processors was estimated to be worth about US$9 billion this year. Bloomberg also reported that HP is currently Intel's biggest customer, accounting for 19 percent of the chipmaker's revenue.

In previous reports, Intel executives said ARM chips lacked compute power and power efficiency.

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