ARM, Oracle to Optimize Java for 64-Bit ARM-Based Servers

The expanded relationship with Oracle is another step for ARM as it looks to move its low-power chip designs into the data center.

ARM officials are continuing to lay the groundwork for the company’s plans for a greater role in the data center, reaching a multiyear agreement with software giant Oracle to expand the capabilities of Java Platform Standard Edition on ARM’s chip architecture.

ARM, which has worked with Oracle in the past to bring Java and its system-on-a-chip (SoC) architecture closer together, announced July 22 that Oracle will further optimize Java SE for ARM’s current 32-bit designs and add Java SE support to 64-bit ARMv8 platforms.

The agreement is not only aimed at such data center systems as servers and networking systems, but also in machine-to-machine (M2M) environments, including industrial control, factory automation and single-board computers, according to ARM and Oracle officials.

Expanding Oracle’s support for ARM’s technology will increase the software ecosystem that will be key as ARM looks to bring its low-power SoC architecture, which now is found in most smartphones and tablets, into the data center, according to Ian Drew, chief marketing officer and executive vice president for business development at ARM.

“The industry has reached a significant inflection point as enterprise infrastructure, including servers and network routers, is now able to leverage high-performance, energy-efficient ARM technology," Drew said in a statement. "This extended relationship with Oracle to enhance Java SE is an important step in growing the ARM ecosystem, which is enabling businesses and consumers worldwide to discover new levels of energy efficiency and advanced performance.“

With trends like cloud computing, big data and mobility changing the kinds of workloads running in the data center, enterprises and service providers are looking for systems that offer high performance, density and energy efficiency. ARM officials see an opportunity for moving their architecture into the dense, low-power microserver space, powering systems that can move massive numbers of small workloads.

The company—which designs low-power SoCs, then licenses those designs to the likes of Samsung, Qualcomm and Nvidia—already is seeing some partners, including Calxeda and Marvell Technologies, create server chips based on its 32-bit designs. In addition, Applied Micro also is working on a 64-bit ARM-based SoC.

However, it won’t be until next year that systems running on the ARMv8 architecture—which will feature such server features as 64-bit capabilities and greater memory and virtualization support—will start hitting the market. It’s also when major chip makers—such as Advanced Micro Devices and Samsung—will begin putting out 64-bit ARM-based SoCs.