Lenovo Joins HP, Dell in Developing ARM Servers
However, SoCs don't offer the same kind of flexibility that traditional Intel chips offer, something end-users need to think about when considering going with ARM-based systems, Tease said. With the Cavium-based NeXtScale systems, "we've traded off flexibility for better performance-per-watt and performance-per-dollar," he said. Tease said Lenovo engineers expect to have the prototypes ready within the next four to five months for use by the Hartree Centre. Lenovo's prototypes are a continuation of system makers’ "tire-kicking of ARM-based servers," Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst with Moor Insights and Strategy, told eWEEK. HP already is using Applied Micro's X-Gene SoCs in its low-power Moonshot server modules, and Dell has a few ARM server projects underway. Cray officials have also said they are considering testing ARM-based processors for some of its supercomputers. Moorhead said OEMs and businesses are looking for an alternative to Intel, which holds more than 95 percent of the server chip space. He added that Intel is doing a good job of increasing the energy efficiency of its low-power Atom chips, is embracing accelerators and is rolling out a Xeon SoC, but organizations are still interested in other options. The testing being done by the likes of Lenovo and Dell, and HP's use of ARM chips in commercial systems, reflect that interest.
Lenovo's Tease agreed.