Calxeda Expands 32-, 64-Bit ARM Server Plans

The chip maker is introducing the next generation of its 32-bit EnergyCore SoCs, while growing its upcoming 64-bit processor portfolio.

ARM-based chip maker Calxeda is unveiling the latest generation of its 32-bit processors for the data center while expanding the number of its upcoming 64-bit server chips.

Calxeda officials on Oct. 28 announced the EnergyCore ECX-2000 family of ARM Cortex-A15-based systems on a chip (SoCs) that are aimed at I/O-intensive cloud computing environments, including distributed storage, gaming services, streaming media and private clouds.

The 32-bit chips include the Cortex-A15 cores up to 1.8GHz, and come integrated with 10 Gigabit Ethernet, standard I/O controllers and Calxeda's Fleet Fabric, which includes an embedded network fabric switch that can connect thousands of EnergyCore SoCs. The technology is a key part of Calxeda's effort to bring ARM's low-power chip technology normally found in mobile devices to the data center, according to Calxeda co-founder and CEO Barry Evans.

"The Calxeda Fleet Fabric enables our customers to create an extremely efficient computing infrastructure that improves management of large-scale clouds at lower cost, lower power and reduced carbon footprint," Evans said in a statement. "Coupled with the strength of our software and hardware partners, this is an unbeatable combination in an industry that is demanding better alternatives."

Officials with ARM, which offers chip designs that are then licensed by partners like Calxeda, Samsung, Qualcomm and Nvidia, are looking to leverage the growing demand in the data center for more energy-efficient system to move its architecture into the enterprise. The initial target has been low-power microservers that can help lower the cost and increase the efficiency of data centers in hyperscale environments, such as Web hosting, where huge numbers of servers are being asked to process massive amounts of small transactions.

However, chip makers increasingly are looking at ARM designs for other parts of the data center, including storage and networking. In recent weeks, both Broadcom and IBM said they would leverage the ARM architecture to build networking and communications chips. Still, the ultra-efficient server space is a target market. For example, Hewlett-Packard officials expect to use the EnergyCore ECX-2000 SoCs in some of its Project Moonshot family of microservers, which also will include processors from other ARM partners as well as Intel and Advanced Micro Devices.

"When delivered in an HP Moonshot solution, we believe [the ECX-2000] will offer users a new level of performance, requiring less energy and less space than traditional solutions do today," Paul Santeler, vice president and general manager of HP's Hyperscale Business Unit, said in a statement.