All I can say is:
"And not a moment too soon!"
It's about time for this sort of thing to be coming up. At $20K the price is bordering on outrageous, but it is a fair amount of hardware for the money (8x 2 cores). I certainly hope this catches on.
A growing number of companies are spoiling for a fight between the ARM and x64 architectures in the data centre. The latest one to enter the ring is ZT Systems, a maker of low-powered servers that has just launched its first ARM-based server. If you ask Intel, the company will emphatically deny that there is a market for …
... if you think about it in terms of normal enterprise grate kit overpricedness (e.g. see what HP or Dell or, heavens forbid, Sun^H^H^HOracle with charge you), for a 16 core box (or 8 dual core boxes which is what this is), it's only overpriced by a factor of about 2x. That's not too bad for something as radically different and new as this.
You do not really need a high-end flash drive per node on this one. This is a Linux FFS, they can all boot off a dedicated IO node and run over NFS from it using a separate 1G backplane if needed. This will immediately shave off 3000$ off the ticket price. There are a few other choices here which also make little sense for most Linux workloads. Once the build has been cleaned from the outrageous waste you will be looking at around 10K USD which is not bad for a system in this class.
"The machine has no fans because it is cool enough to run without them. ZT Systems reckons the whole machine burns under 80 watts of power."
Surely *that's* the gamble we are seeing here. The ARM crowd are betting that for large enough data centres, the prize goes to the CPU with the best ops-per-watts figure. The only reason Intel are still in the data centre is because they enjoy the economics of commodity hardware, but for 24/7 operation it is possible that the inflated electricity bill exceeds the capital savings within the lifetime of the system.
Yes, lets hope so.
it could also be that there hoping people will realise that those 8 3Ghz core boxes are not really required for serving files and printers, and this is a viable alternative to Virtualisation (Which has its own set of problems)
Some people prefer having seperate boxes to do this stuff, not least of which because ESX and the like comes with its own pitfalls (The "One massive point of failiure" thing comes to mind for a start)
"the whole machine burns under 80 watts of power. (That's what the spec sheet says. I myself am skeptical of this claim.)"
Sounds reasonable to me. I've been using ARM7 based machines for 15+ years and many have 40 or 70W PSU's and that was mainly to power the drives. If it drew much more than 80W it would probably need a fan, but that would be to keep the PSU cool, not the CPU!
I would agree. indeed 80W implies significant room for improvement.
The Little marvell plug things take 5W a piece, and this includes USB, chipset, power supply overhead and 1Ghz arm processor.
I would imagine most of the headline power is actually the CD drive and disk drives. (Although 80w seems rather too high even for that)
We opted for VMCo (~120w idle, ~300w flat out with 24 cores and 128GB RAM), mostly to run regular x86/64 VMware & Xen on. Though I can see why ARM would really hit the spot for mass web hosting or some other cloud computing service (so long as Intel's individual core performance and memory bandwidth wasn't needed).
More diversity has got to be good at this point...
and don't forget the fans themselves need power.
Personally, I reckon that there is definitely a market in home servers for ARM. Quiet, cool and "powerful enough." Something with ADSL/cable interface options and lots of disk connections.
Something like the plug computers but with more connectivity. Something with a sophisticated firewall, not the complicated counter-intuitive rubbish on most ADSL routers. But I also want to be able to do all this without needing a 750w power supply and earplugs.
Interview After two years of claiming that its Arm-powered server processors provide better performance and efficiency for cloud applications than Intel or AMD's, Ampere Computing said real deployments by cloud providers and businesses are proving its chips are the real deal.
The Silicon Valley startup held its Annual Strategy and Product Roadmap Update last week to ostensibly give a product roadmap update. But the only update was the news that Ampere's 5nm processor due later this year is called Ampere One, it's sampling that with customers, and it will support PCIe Gen 5 connectivity and DDR5 memory.
Qualcomm has reiterated it would like a stake in Arm and help create a consortium that would keep the Brit chip designer neutral, or out of the hands of any single chip company at least.
The latest development in the Arm IPO saga comes from Qualcomm's chief executive, Cristiano Amon, who told the Financial Times that his company was interested in investing in Arm, and that Qualcomm could join forces with other chipmakers to buy Arm outright from owner SoftBank.
"It's a very important asset and it's an asset which is going to be essential to the development of our industry," Amon said.
Dell has pulled the lid off the latest pair of laptops in its XPS 13 line, in the hopes the new designs, refreshed internals, and an unmistakably Apple-like aesthetic of its 2-in-1 approach can give them a boost in a sputtering PC market.
Both new machines are total redesigns, which is in line with Dell's plans to revamp its XPS series. Dell users considering an upgrade will want to take note, especially those interested in the XPS 13 2-in-1: There is quite a bit of difference, for both enterprise and consumer folks.
The XPS 13 maintains its form factor – for the most part – but gets a new smooth aluminum chassis that makes it look more like a MacBook Air than ever. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing: the new design is reportedly lighter and thinner, too.
RSA Conference Intel has released a reference design for a plug-in security card aimed at delivering improved network and security processing without requiring the additional rackspace a discrete appliance would need.
The NetSec Accelerator Reference Design [PDF] is effectively a fully functional x86 compute node delivered as a PCIe card that can be fitted into an existing server. It combines an Intel Atom processor, Intel Ethernet E810 network interface, and up to 32GB of memory to offload network security functions.
According to Intel, the new reference design is intended to enable a secure access service edge (SASE) model, a combination of software-defined security and wide-area network (WAN) functions implemented as a cloud-native service.
IBM and Dell are the founding members of a new initiative to promote sustainable development in IT by providing a framework of responsible corporate policies for organizations to follow.
Responsible Computing is described as a membership consortium for technology organizations that aims to get members to sign up to responsible values in key areas relating to infrastructure, code development, and social impact. The program is also operating under the oversight of the Object Management Group.
According to Object Management Group CEO Bill Hoffman, also the CEO of Responsible Computing, the new initiative aims to "shift thinking and, ultimately behavior" within the IT industry and therefore "bring about real change", based around a manifesto that lays out six domains the program has identified for responsible computing.
Arm-based servers continue to gain momentum with Gigabyte Technology introducing a system based on Ampere's Altra processors paired with Nvidia A100 GPUs, aimed at demanding workloads such as AI training and high-performance compute (HPC) applications.
It supports 16 DDR4 DIMM slots, which would be enough space for up to 4TB of memory if all slots were filled with 256GB memory modules. The chassis also has space for no fewer than eight Nvidia A100 GPUs, which would make for a costly but very powerful system for those workloads that benefit from GPU acceleration.
There was good news overnight for the niche of Windows on Arm users as Microsoft released a native Arm64 version of PowerToys.
PowerToys is an increasingly essential component for Windows users, with features ranging from assistance for keyboard shortcuts, though a nifty window manager to the very handy PowerToys Run function.
The first pre-release arrived on GitHub in 2019 and the PowerToys team has added functionality to the suite ever since (although, thankfully, not the TweakUI that blighted many a Windows system more than 20 years ago.)
Arm is this week celebrating passing a few of its own self-set milestones in its long quest to compete against x86 stalwarts Intel and AMD in the server processor space.
One, we're told, is that Microsoft Ampere Altra-based Azure servers are now Arm SystemReady SR certified, "the first cloud solution provider (CSP) server to do so," said Arm Chief System Architect Andy Rose on Monday.
Another is that Azure VMs powered by Altra processors are the first of their kind to be certified as compliant with the SystemReady Virtual Environment standard. And the other breakthrough, according to Rose, is that there have been more than 50 certifications of SystemReady products since the launch of the program.
Immersion cooling has long been the domain of larger datacenter operators but with increasing density and therefore smaller datacenter facilities, there is a need for shops of all sizes to get around heavy-duty AC and air cooling.
This is the target for German server maker RNT Rausch, which has teamed up with cooling specialist Submer to provide immersion cooling for RNT's server and storage systems
The partnership means businesses of any size can deploy liquid cooling in their datacenter. A relatively small space is required for this as it eliminates the need for air-conditioning units to cool servers, or for expensive and sophisticated fire extinguisher systems, the companies said.
Linus Torvalds has announced the first release candidate for version 5.19 of the Linux kernel, and declared it represents a milestone in multiplatform development for the project.
After first commenting that the development process for this version has been made difficult by many late pull requests, then applauding the fact that most were properly signed, Torvalds opined that Linux 5.19 "is going to be on the bigger side, but certainly not breaking any records, and nothing looks particularly odd or crazy."
Around 60 percent of the release is drivers, and there's another big load of code that gets AMD GPUs playing nicely with the kernel.
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