SUSE Brings ARM Server Support to Linux Distribution
The company unveils a version of SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 for ARM-based servers powered by ARM chips from Applied Micro, Cavium and others.SUSE officials are throwing their support behind ARM-based servers, saying that version 12 of SUSE Enterprise Linux will run on systems powered by chips from the likes of Applied Micro, Cavium and Advanced Micro Devices. The company announced the support and a partner program July 14 at the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) in Germany, saying its latest distribution will be supported on ARM-based servers from such OEMs as Dell, Hewlett-Packard, E4 Computer Engineering and SoftIron. The move is the latest indication of the growing interest in servers based on the low-power ARM system-on-a-chip (SOC) architecture, which powers the bulk of the smartphones and tablets in the market. ARM officials for several years have been talking about bringing its technology to servers, and with the 64-bit ARMv8-A architecture available, chips from Applied Micro (X-Gene) and Cavium (ThunderX) are on the market, with more on the way from AMD, Marvell Technology and others. SUSE officials said they don't expect ARM to topple Intel from the top of the server space, but the ARM architecture—and the growing interest among component and system makers—makes supporting it a smart move. An interesting part is that multiple vendors are using the same core technology that they are licensing from ARM, according to David Byte, senior technical strategist with SUSE.
"This provides a common base for the OS vendors, like SUSE, to build support in their kernel," Byte wrote in a post on the company blog. "The important part is the special sauce they add to the die. By putting accelerators for network, encryption, or any other function that makes sense close to the CPU cores, they enable lower latency and higher performance characteristics to be achieved. If you think about this in terms of specialization for specific use cases, the value proposition offered comes into focus fairly quickly."