In the news

  • CNCF CI with Arm support
  • BeagleBone AI preview
  • Allwinnner A10/A20 SATA write speed performance
  • Neoverse N1, Wikichip
  • Snips open sources Tract, an inference engine for edge devices
  • Rack mount Pi
  • Alex Ellis update on OpenFaaS
  • NGINX on Amazon EC2 a1.* Arm instances
  • Microsoft Build trip report
  • HPE to acquire Cray
  • Google Pik image format

CNCF CI with Arm support

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) has expanded their continuous integration and test coverage of several core Kubernetes components on Arm. The v2.4.0 release of the CNCF CI dashboard covers testing of Kubernetes, CoreDNS, Fluentd and Prometheus. Adding test coverage of Envoy is next in the plan.

The implementation team from Vulk Coop will be at Kubecon in Barcelona and is planning to discuss their findings with interested parties at that event.

BeagleBone AI preview

The BeagleBone project has previewed their new “BeagleBone AI”, a small single-board computer with embedded vision engine (“EVE”) cores. The device made its debut at Embedded World in Germany. It’s based on the TI AM57x family of chips, with cape header compatibility with previous BeagleBone devices. No pricing has been announced.

Allwinnner A10/A20 SATA write speed performance

Igor Pecovnik and the Armbian team have come up with changes to the SATA driver for the Allwinner A10/A20 SoCs that substantially improves write speed performance. The changes were done by reverse engineering a poorly documented register set that controls DMA receive and transmit FIFOs.

A recommendation as with any new change that affects disk I/O is that correctness is far more important than performance, and so if you have Banana Pi or Cubieboard systems to spare this would be a good system to contribute test cycles to before it goes into production.

Neoverse N1, Wikichip

The Wikichip database has perhaps the best single collection of detailed information about chip and SoC designs in one place. The system is maintained by WikiChip LLC, led by technology journalist David Schor. Coverage includes the latest as well as historical designs, with a goal to provide representative coverage from the transistor level up to the SoC.

As an example, the new Arm Neoverse N1 design has a detailed page on Wikichip, with schematic layouts and a comparison with earlier designs, compiled from news reports and personal communications with Arm.

Snips open sources Tract, an inference engine for edge devices

Tract is an inference engine for edge devices, written in Rust with a goal of enabling acceptable performance on CPU and memory constrained systems. Tract is written in Rust and compares favorably to Tensorflow Lite and the ARM NN SDK. Using Tract, you can implement on-device features like “wake word detection” with a minimum of hardware and no network dependencies.

Snips has open sourced Tract, one piece of their commercial voice assistance technology, and the code is available on Github.

Rack mount Pi

If you are looking for a rack mount solution to hold just a few Raspberry Pi’s in a standard 1U form factor, PCSL has an inexpensive case that allows three of those single-board computers to be racked. The design exposes the GPIO pins for those systems, enabling a whole set of options for additional systems integration.

Alex Ellis update on OpenFaaS

Alex Ellis from the OpenFaaS project has released a project update for this open source functions-as-a-service platform. The presentation deck is accompanied by an hour long presentation and question session, spelling out the project goals for this “serverless” development environment that runs on top of Docker or Kubernetes.

NGINX on Amazon EC2 a1.* Arm instances

Amazon and NGINX have partnered to make it easy to deploy this application load balancer on the Arm-powered Amazon a1.* instance types.

Microsoft Build trip report

Last week’s Microsoft Build conference featured a Windows Insider interview with the Windows 10 on ARM team, who have been developing software and systems support for the set of devices originally referred to as the ACPC (“Always Connected PC”). Thanks to Jon Kunkee alerting me to this interview.

HPE to acquire Cray

HPE has announced plans to acquire Cray for $1.3 Billion. The acquisition will bring together two of the leading companies in high performance computing, both of which have used Marvell ThunderX2 chips in their designs.

Google Pik image format

Google has released a new “Pik” file format, designed for high performance, efficient image compression. The software distribution includes SIMD support for Intel and Arm systems, encapsulated in a set of libraries that may be suitable for study or other uses.

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