ARM Mobile Processors to Power Servers

It might sound a little odd when you first hear that the technology that powers mobile phones today would power tomorrow’s Server.

ARM manufactures high-performance mobile computing chips. Of course, these processors cannot match the performance offered by x86 processors but there’s something that still make them attractive, more attractive than x86 processors for server farms.

ARM’s  CEO Warren East said that servers based on ARM multicore processors should arrive within the next twelve months. The current architecture, designed for client-side computing, can surprisingly be also used in server applications.

Though the implementations of ARM have traditionally been aimed at relatively low performance optimized for minimum power consumption, but, we are seeing higher speed, multicore implementations now pushing up to 2 GHz. ARM’s A9 at 2 GHz has four cores, which makes them a viable candidate for servers. However, the main difference an ARM-based server processor would offer is the addition of high-speed communications interfaces.

No matter how fast these buses are, speed is definitely not an advantage ARM would offer. However, with a growing concern to reduce the amount of energy consumed by servers and server farms, ARM processors offer a great deal, especially the multi-core options in the higher range. ARM might solve part of the problem by offering a Green ServerFarm that would operate at less than 20% of the energy of the current Intel, AMD x86 server processors.

Obviously, we won’t see these processors being deployed in high-performance farms. What looks possible is that it might limit its options to the print and storage server market.

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