ARM finally releases an architecture platform for servers

Tools

Chip maker ARM has finally put together a Server Base System Architecture (SBSA), outlining a standard platform for ARM-based servers. Meant for servers using the new 64-bit ARMv8 SoC (System-on-a-Chip) processors, the SBSA sets out important parameters such as minimum hardware specifications, boot-up requirements, I/O elements, virtualization and graphics--among others.

The new specification was developed together with software and hardware vendors such as Canonical, Citrix, Linaro, Microsoft, Red Hat, SUSE, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, AMD, Applied Micro, Broadcom, Cavium and Texas Instruments (TI), reports PC Magazine.

Despite its ambition to gain a significant chunk of the server processor market, ARM has been hobbled by the lack of standard platform. "Without any clear market leader in the nascent ARM server market, this diversity and lack of platform could be deeply problematic. It would prevent easy software compatibility, with each different kind of system needing its own customized kernel," writes Peter Bright of Ars Technica as he sums up the challenges facing ARM.

The Fierce Take: Once it becomes widely adopted, an operating system that supports the SBSA environment will be able to run on any SBSA system, much like the situation with the PC platform today. This represents a large step forward for ARM, and will also lends itself to garnering greater support from server peripheral makers, as well as lowering the barriers towards compatibility with the various Linux distributions that are widely deployed on servers.

For more:
- check out this article at PC Magazine
- check out this article at Ars Technica
- check out this article at ZDNet

Related Articles:
AMD to license ARM architecture for server chips
Dell to demo its first 64-bit ARM server this week