ARM over Intel in the Data Center?
Here’s an interesting article from Wired a few months ago detailing why chip maker ARM may be ready to make a run at Intel in terms of network equipment inside a data center…
Researchers at HP, chipmaker ARM, and Facebook have dreamt up a new breed of server processor specifically designed to provide quick and efficient access to information on the web’s most popular services.
In a paper due to be published next month, the researchers propose a chip that’s custom-built to run Memcached, a popular open source software platform that lets services like Facebook, Twitter, and Wikipedia speed the delivery of data to the world’s web surfers. In building this chip, you would start with a low-power processor not unlike the one in your cell phone, but then you would add hardware that could help Memcached zip information across a data center network.
It’s an intriguing design, but more importantly, it provides a glimpse into how server chips are likely to change over the coming years — and how this will effect the competitive landscape among chipmakers. Today, Intel owns this market because it makes inexpensive general-purpose processors that run extremely fast. ARM’s chips aren’t as powerful, but the company has something else going for it. ARM licenses its designs to a wide range of chip makers who can then modify them and build all sorts of specialized gear — gear like the system-on-chip proposed in this new paper.