Subject: Systems | April 19, 2013 - 12:56 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: servers, project moonshot, microserver, hp, arm, Applied Micro Circuits, 64-bit
A recent press release from AppliedMicro (Applied Micro Circuits Corporation) announced that the company’s X-Gene server on a chip technology would be used in an upcoming HP Project Moonshot server.
An HP Moonshot server (expect the X-Gene version to be at least slightly different).
The X-Gene is a 64-bit ARM SoC that combines ARM processing cores with networking and storage offload engines as well as a high-speed interconnect networking fabric. AppliedMicro designed the chip to provide ARM-powered servers that will reportedly reduce the Total Cost of Ownership of running webservers in a data center by reducing upfront hardware and ongoing electrical costs.
The X-Gene chips that will appear in HP’s Project Moonshot servers feature a SoC with eight AppliedMicro-designed 64-bit ARMv8 cores clocked at 2.4GHz, four ARM Cortex A5 cores for running the Software Defined Network (SDN) controller, and support for storage IO, PCI-E IO, and integrated Ethernet (four 10Gb Ethernet links). The X-Gene chips are located on card-like daughter cards that slot into a carrier board that has networking fabric to connect all the X-Gene cards (and the SoCs on those cards). Currently, servers using X-Gene SoCs require a hardware switch to connect all of the X-Gene cards in a rack. However, the next-generation 28nm X-Gene chips will eliminate the need for a rack-level hardware switch as well as featuring 100Gb networking links).
The X-Gene chips in HP Project Moonshot will use relatively little power compared to Xeon-based solutions. AppliedMicro has stated that eh X-Gene chips will be at least two-times as power efficient, but has not officially release power consumption numbers for the X-Gene chips under load. However, at idle the X-Gene SoCs will use as little as 500mW and 300mW of power at idle and standby (sleep mode) respectively. The 64-bit quad issue, Out of Order Execution chips are some of the most-powerful ARM processors to date, though they will soon be joined by ARM’s own 64-bit design(s). I think the X-Gene chips are intriquing, and I am excited to see how well they fare in the data center environment running server applications. ARM has handily taken over the mobile space, but it is still relatively new in the server world. Even so, the 64-bit ARM chips by AppliedMicro (X-Gene) and others are the first step towards ARM being a viable option for servers.
According to AppliedMicro, HP Project Moonshot servers with X-Gene SoCs will be available later this year. You can find the press blast below.
Subject: General Tech | November 27, 2012 - 12:38 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: arm, Applied Micro Circuits, X-Gene, X-Compute, X-Memory, X-Storage
There is more choice to put ARM power into your server room with three new products with varying roles. The first is the X-Compute card with a single 8 core X-Gene processor and up to 128GB of memory, connectivity is three gigabit and one 10 gigabit ethernet ports. This they see running web apps and monitoring or load balancing purposes. Next is the X-Memory machine with 16 cores thanks to two X-Gene chips and it can support up to 256GB of memory, its connectivity is a little more advanced with two 10 gigabit connections in addition to three gigabit connections. Obviously this is intended for memory dependent applications which don't depend on high density local storage. Last but certainly not least is the biggest member, the X-Storage which can handle up to 11 3.5" SATA drives and an additional three 2.5" SATA drives and sports a single eight X-Gene processor, up to 32GB of memory plus one gigabit and one 10 gigabit networking port. The Register doesn't have benchmarks but you can see what these devices will look like right here.
"Applied Micro Circuits is not yet shipping its first X-Gene ARM-based processor aimed at servers, and it is going to be a while yet before it can get the processors into the field. But because there is so much at stake, Applied Micro can't afford to be left out of any conversations about ARM Holding's attack on the data center. The reason? It has invested very heavily (at least relative to its size) in this X-Gene project."
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