ARM Takes Aim at Supercomputing Space
The software ecosystem ARM is looking to build around its server chips is based on open-source development, from the operating systems to the middleware. Officials with ARM and some of its chip partners have been talking about pushing the low-power ARM architecture into the server space for several years. However, there are few systems on the market now, although company officials expect the space to ramp in the next couple of years. Some chip makers, including Applied Micro and Cavium, already are on their second- or third-generation processors, and Qualcomm is on target to begin sampling a production version of its 24-core SoC later this year. Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) sells versions of its Apollo powered by ARM-based chips, and last week said it was using Applied Micro's X-Gene SoCs in its new StoreVirtual 3200 virtualized infrastructure offering. Vendors including Dell and Lenovo also have ARM-based servers on the ready for when demand increases. Company officials are looking at workloads such as high-performance data analytics, exascale computing, machine learning and next-generation networking as use cases for ARM silicon. The introduction of SVE into the ARM architecture should help accelerate the adoption of ARM chips in servers, according to Ian Smythe, director of marketing programs for ARM's CPU Group.
"It's a good step forward," Smythe told eWEEK. "No one else is capable of doing this [vector processing] this way."