What’s Up Doc? Optimizations for Arm
Software runs best when it fully utilizes the underlying hardware,…
Packet and Arm announced the partnership that brings you this newsletter, plus a commitment to developer access to Arm platforms for development, test, and continuous integration.
Packet, the leading provider of automated bare metal for developers, today announced a partnership with Arm to support the rapidly expanding ecosystem for the Arm®v8-compatible architecture. Through the partnership, Packet will provide free on-demand access to Armv8-A bare metal systems from Cavium, Qualcomm Datacenter Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, and others – enabling open source and commercial software projects to easily test against a variety of datacenter-grade machines.
Look for more details coming in the next few weeks about how access to these resources. News coverage of the effort has been generally positive, with Data Center Knowledge saying this:
[D]evelopers often require direct access to physical infrastructure to build and deploy next-generation workloads that fully utilize the underlying hardware capabilities. This also gives them a way to make sure their software works on the most basic ARM installation before tweaking it to work and play well with someone else’s software. There are other reasons as well, but you get the picture.
After a multi-year effort to design and implement a system for transparently supporting multiple architectures, Docker this week released official multi-arch versions of their most popular images through Docker Hub.
Phil Estes from IBM who has led this effort has a very good writeup of the journey to this point. In “DockerHub Official Images Go Multi-platform!”, he writes:
So, every once in awhile you get the immense pleasure of seeing an idea through from start to finish. Multi-platform container images may not be exciting for everyone, but it’s a topic I’ve been thinking about and working on since a team at IBM first approached me about helping figure this out in November 2014.
The end result of this collaboration is the ability for Docker to support a single unified Dockerfile that will transparently pick up the right architecture for the machine it’s running on, and an ability for package providers to publish an image that handles multiple architectures at the same time.
A few details along the way are worth noting. At this instant there’s support for multiple operating system versions (Ubuntu, Debian, CentOS, Fedora) but not yet for Alpine which is still adjusting their build process to produce the right artifacts. The
containerd team also had to scramble a bit to patch up some unforeseen assumptions that are now different.
Release notes are available for Red Hat customers for RHEL 7.4 for arm64.
Red Hat remains committed to providing customer choice when it comes to datacenter infrastructure. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.4 maintains this commitment with availability across multiple architectures, including IBM Power, IBM z Systems and 64-bit ARM (as a development preview).
In close parallel with the RHEL release, CentOS has announced the availability of CentOS 7.4.1708 for arm64. The release notes are brief, with the primary change a move from a 4.5 kernel to a 4.11 kernel.
CentOS is also now available in container form through a multiarch container on Docker Hub. Jim Perrin writes:
As of today we have official ARM64 support for #CentOS containers in the docker-hub. We’ll be adding more soon!
From the editor –
This week has been a busy week with travel to Open Source Summit, Moby Summit, and Mesoscon, all conveniently located in the same hotel in Los Angeles.
In two weeks I’ll be at Linaro Connect in San Francisco.
The list of people I’ve seen on the road is too long to let me make it complete. Thanks in particular to Elsie Wahlig of Qualcomm, Jeff Underhill of Arm, my colleague Ben Holton of Packet, Joerg Schad and Judith Malnick of Mesosphere, and Laura Fisher.
Written with the help of an espresso from
illy in the lobby of the JW Marriott in downtown Los Angeles.
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