Ubuntu 11.10 will ship with ARM server support
Canonical has confirmed that the x86 and x86-64 versions of Ubuntu Server 11.10 will be joined by a version for ARM-based architectures. The company believes that ARM servers will become important to data centres because of the architecture's history in low power consumption applications such as smartphones.
The company Calxeda, for example, is already taking ARM processors and working on creating systems with 120 quad-core ARM A9 processors in a 2U server that draws around only 600 watts of power. These systems would allow data centres either to pack in more hardware or reduce their power requirements, but the operators of the centres would need an easy way to move workloads from or between existing x86 systems to make them viable.
Canonical sees this as an opportunity for Ubuntu to address the need for a common Linux distribution for both x86 and ARM servers, especially given its experience with Ubuntu Server on x86 platforms. Chris Kenyon, Canonical's VP of OEM Services said in a blog posting that 11.10 would be the first release of a "multi-year initiative" to provide ARM support and that such support would also be incorporated in 2012's Ubuntu 12.04, the next long-term support release. Canonical is focusing on optimising for web/network infrastructure loads and NoSQL/"big data" applications. More information on the Ubuntu Server for ARM are available on the Ubuntu wiki.