WOA Issue 2

WOA Issue 2

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for Issue 2, please send them to [email protected] or contact me on the Packet community Slack channel as “ed.packet”. Tweets can be send to the @worksonarm account or to @vielmetti.

Conference reports

Red Hat Summit in Boston on May 2-4, 2017 featured the ARM Pavillion. Vendors Cavium, Qualcomm, Packet, Linaro, Phoenics Electronics and Gigabyte were in attendance alongside ARM. I was on the show floor for three days, talking to people from a variety of industries and from Red Hat.

At Kubecon, Lucas Käldström demonstrated a bare-metal multi-platform kubeadm setup with persistent storage and monitoring. See kubeadm-workshop for code on Github.

Serverless was in Austin Texas in late April 2017. This account from Adobe I/O describes some highlights from the event, including the history and evolution of computing and a description of the “toddler years” of serverless efforts.

Upcoming events

Mityltics will be at Apache Big Data 2017, May 16-18 in Miami, with Manish Singh presenting on Cassandra on Armv8 – A Comparison with x86 and Other Processor Platforms.

The call for proposals deadline for ARM TechCon is May 19, for an event to be held October 24-26 in Santa Clara, CA.

Single board computers: the Hikey 960

The Hikey 960 is designed as a single board computer for Android development. It was developed by Huawei and can be purchased through a variety of distributors listed at the 96boards web site. US suggested retail price is $239. The system has an 8-core Huawei Kirin 960 processor, featuring 4 ARM Cortex A73 and 4 Cortex A53 cores, 3GB of DRAM, and 32G of flash.

64 bit operating systems for the Raspberry Pi 3

Raspberry Pi 3 owners have several choices for booting an Armv8-based 64-bit operating system on that system.

SUSE Linux was announced for Raspberry Pi 3 systems in November 2016. The release announcement notes that it is based on the upstream kernel used for SLES for ARM and has a common code base with all architecture supported by SUSE Linux Enterprise. Based on this support, StackIQ announced a version of their Stacki data center provisioning software that works with the Raspberry Pi to let you build ARM and Intel based clusters.

Hypriot is a distribution based on Debian 8. Dieter Reuter put together a workshop on building a full arm64 distribution for the Pi 3, complete with build scripts for all aspects of the system, in his Building a 64bit Docker OS for RPi3.

Armv8 servers by the hour from Scaleway and Packet

Scaleway announced the availability of virutalized Armv8 systems on April 27, 2017 out of their Paris data center, with availability in Amsterdam scheduled soon. Systems are available with 2, 4 or 8 cores, and cost upwards from 2.99 Euros/month.

Packet‘s Type 2A server, a 96-core Cavium based Armv8 system, was featured at the ARM Pavillion at Red Hat Summit. Priced at $0.50/hr, it provides developers with easy access to hardware for their Armv8 development, as well as infrastructure for workloads. (Packet is a sponsor of this newsletter).

Work in progress

Highlighting work in progress where a modest amount of incremental effort is likely to result in software that Works on Arm. Each of these projects is available for you to contribute to.

CockroachDB is a distributed database designed as an open source equivalent to Google’s Spanner database, for disaster-tolerant global infrastructure. Work is in progress to port this system to Armv8.

Web infrastructure

Nginx is a web server, reverse proxy server, load balancer and HTTP cache. Since 2014 it has been commercially supported on Armv8.

Hugo is a static site generator used for weblogs and web site development, and since v0.20.3 the official release includes Armv8 support.

ARM Assembly speedups

WolfSSL (formerly CyaSSL) has Armv8 native instruction support to speed up SSL termination. The software is widely used in embedded systems, and also includes server support for integration with Nginx.

Continuous integration

Several open source projects at Packet are using Jenkins for continuous integration and remote builds. If your project currently builds on ARM – or if you’d like it to – contact [email protected] to discuss your build needs.

In other newsletters

Cloud Native Monthly, April 2017, was produced by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. You’ll need to subscribe to get a copy – a sample February newsletter is online.

Sysdig’s Containers News No. 5 for March and April 2017 has a good roundup of container-based computing news.

Portability notes

If you’re writing code for Armv8, you’ll want to be aware of these issues that require special attention.

CockroachDB discovered that the Go 1.8.1 runtime returns slightly different numeric results for floating point operations, characterized generally as different rounding behavior for the very last decimal place. Other anomalous results have been seen in PHP and in the JVM based Clojure language. Work is underway to provide minimum test cases to ARM and to language developers and to identify guidance for acceptance tests.


Produced in part on the show floor at Red Hat Summit. Portions of this newletter were edited with Github, vim on a MacBook Air.

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