Smooth-Stone ARM Powered Servers to disrupt cloud computing server market

Posted by – August 16, 2010
Category: Servers

ARM Powered Servers could be cheaper and consume less power and still provide the same performance as Intel. Smooth-Stone is developing some specific ARM processors and system on chip hardware configurations for use in servers to power cloud computing. Smooth-Stone has just announced that they have raised $48 Million from investors including ARM, ATIC (owner of Globalfoundries and part of AMD), Texas Instruments, Battery Ventures, Flybridge Capital Partners and Highland Capital Partners.

Smooth-Stone will make it possible for data center managers to increase the density of their computer resources while significantly reduce need for power, space and cooling. At the same time, Smooth-Stone technology will contribute to the reduction of the CO2 footprint of the data center in a significant way.

In a previously announced project, Marvell is also working on Server specific versions of their Marvell ARM processors. This is going to be fun!

My guess is that these new ARM server processors may be based on ARM Cortex A9, come at as little as very small 28nm process size, come with many cores for server-optimized parallel processing. More speculation:

Server chips won’t need the graphics and signal processors that most high-performance ARM chips have (as the latter are targeted at media applications), but may need larger caches and MMUs capable of addressing more than 4GB of physical memory. Even if ARM has only 4GB logical address space, you can let different processes have different 4GB chunks of a larger physical memory.

What specific hardware configurations and SoC designs do you think these ARM Servers should include? What do you think the power consumption will be for a given performance level compared to Intel? What do you think the price difference will be between an ARM Powered server-park and one powered by Intel? You can post in the comments.

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