Arm in the Datacenter: What to Expect Next
Today, the question isn’t “does it work” — it’s all…
The lead photo is Cloudflare’s illustration of why they are happy with the Qualcomm Centriq processors. Two systems are handling identical loads, and the Centriq consumes 1/3 less power than the Xeon. Cloudflare operates a global edge network with a workload that’s highly parallel, and they have done work to optimize the Go compiler for arm64.
The Twitter threads linked below are entertaining, and hint at a more detailed blog post to follow.
Linaro Connect was in Hong Kong this week, and videos are up from the event. Linaro.ORG has official videos of keynotes and will have all session details up within a week or two. Video blogger Charbax from ArmDevices.NET has several interviews from the show floor and from attendees of work they have in progress.
Linaro Connect is traditionally a time to announce new devices, and this event is no exception. Charbax does a good job of walking the show floor and talking to people who are representing new gear.
At the fall 2017 Linaro Connect, Socionext showed their new Synquacer development box for Arm. In Hong Kong, the keynote from Daniel Thompson was an account of using the system – a 24-core, 1 Ghz A53 design – as his daily development workstation.
Socionext has announced pricing for this system. A $1250 kit (some assembly required) gets you a 4GB system with a 1TB HDD. Daniel Thompson’s configuration expanded the memory (the box can handle up to 64 GB) and replaced the spinning disk with an SSD.
Peter Robinson from Fedora was also at the show and demoed installing Fedora Rawhide (the latest and greatest version) on this system.
The Rock960 “Ficus” is a 96Boards design with a new configuration using the Arm-designed NPU (“Neural Processing Unit”) designed for AI and machine learning applications. This $99 (base price) board includes a Rockchip RK3399Pro and up to 4 GB of memory in a full configuration.
The Huawei and Linaro designed HiKey 970 is a successor to the $239 HiKey 960 development board. It features the HiSilicon Kirin 970 SoC found in the high-end Huawei Mate 10 Android phone, and has an 8-core design (4xA73 + 4xA53) with 6 GB of RAM and a dedicated Neural Processing Unit for AI and machine learning applications.
Daniel Bowers (Gartner analyst) comments on Leendert van Doorn’s Linaro Connect keynote “Microsoft Azure: Operating at Hyper-Scale”: “We’ve legitimized ARM servers (but there won’t be a retail version of Windows Server for ARM).”
At the Open Computer Platform Summit this week, Gigabyte and Cavium announced a deskside workstation version of their ThunderX2 system. The announcement did not include prices or availability.
Resin.IO has designed a carrier board for the Raspberry Pi 3 compute module, a design intended for its industrial customers. “Project Fin” brings a real time clock, a power controller for 6V to 30V operations, a SIM slot, a PCIe slot, and eMMC memory to the Pi.
A Samsung Artik 020 micro-controller is included as a co-processor, designed to run at all times even if the main compute module is shut down. This allows the board to operate at very low standby power running off of the micro-controller (e.g. for data logging applications) and then power up the system to handle processing as needed.
This industrial scale compute board is expected to go on sale this spring for $129, plus the cost of the compute module ($25 to $30).
Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton is interviewed about the Raspberry Pi 3 B+, forthcoming plans for the Raspberry Pi 4, and how Stephen Hawking used a Raspberry Pi based system near the end of his life to provide his distinctive voice.
Tomasz Janiszewski reports that the Apache Mesos builds for Arm are now passing, setting the stage for a possible future official support for Mesos on Arm.
Cloudflare has funded work to optimize LuaJIT for arm64, through a team at Kings College London.