Intel Pushes Microserver Vision as It Readies Release of Centerton
Adiletta said Intel sees a strong marketplace developing around these dense systems and that Intel intends to be a leader in the space. "Intel has a head start in microservers, we are very bullish and have an excellent road map," he told the journalists. Centerton already is giving Intel an advantage over ARM, which isn't expected to see chips with its upcoming 64-bit architecture hitting the market until 2014. In November 2011, Hewlett-Packard announced that it was partnering with Calxeda, which makes ARM-based server chips, to create ultra-low-power servers as part of its larger Project Moonshot initiative. However, HP officials in June announced that the first servers from Project Moonshot will be based on Centerton, with the initial systems shipping by the end of this year. Intel executives have argued that Atom, based on the same x86 architecture as the company's other processors, has a host of advantages over chips based on ARM's architecture, including the ability to run many legacy software applications and enabling customers to use familiar tools for the Intel Architecture. In addition, it won't be until ARM's upcoming chips that key server capabilities—including 64-bit capabilities, better virtualization support and greater memory—are included.AMD executives announced in October that along with its traditional x86-based Opteron processors, the company also will begin making 64-bit ARM-based server chips. AMD also is taking a strong interest in the microserver category, with officials calling such dense systems a key part of their turnaround plans for the company. In addition, AMD in February bought SeaMicro, which makes microservers. Some top-tier server OEMs also are planning to offer ARM-based systems. Along with HP, Dell is partnering with Marvell to create their Copper servers, which will be powered by Marvell's Armada XP chip.
However, when ARM does come around with its ARM64 architecture, there will be myriad chip makers to churn out the chips, including Calxeda, Marvell Technologies, Samsung—which looks to be putting together a strong server chip team in Texas—and even Advanced Micro Devices, which has competed against Intel for years in the x86 chip space.