Calxeda demos ARM server running Ubuntu at UDS
At the recent Ubuntu Developer Summit, manufacturer Calxeda unveiled a rack-mountable unit powered by the company's EnergyCore chips. Calxeda is developing ARM-based SoCs (Systems-on-a-Chip) that are designed to run energy-efficient servers.
Calxeda's Vice President of Marketing, Karl Freund, showed off one of the company's servers loaded with several of the EnergyCore units running Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. The machine was running a LAMP stack showing the Calxeda web site using node.js and Ruby on Rails. He also said that compiling the ARM version of Ubuntu should happen significantly faster using the new servers.
The advertised strength of ARM-based servers such as Calxeda's solution is the low energy consumption when the system is idling and the higher integration of system components on the SoC compared to a more traditional x86 board. Freud points out that while chips from Intel and AMD as well as IBM's POWER architectures are
Source: armservers.com significantly faster, most systems waste a lot of time waiting on I/O access and are therefore limiting the actual return on investment on the higher speed of the CPUs.
One of the EnergyCore ECX-1000 SoCs comes with four 32-bit Cortex A9 cores, 4GB ECC-RAM and controllers for Ethernet as well as SATA II ports. The maximum energy consumption of such a board is 5 watts, a rack-mountable unit with 12 SoCs and 24 SATA hard drives is supposed to use less than 300 watts in total.
The Calxeda machines are not exactly production-ready yet but that should change this year, according to a blog post by Freund on his armservers.com site, with first end-user shipments in 4-8 weeks and volume shipments from HP in the autumn.