European server project promotes ARM on FDSOI

January 02, 2015 // By Peter Clarke
A collaborative European microserver project has teamed processor IP licensor ARM and chipmaker STMicroelectronics up with a number of academic and commercial computer and software specialists to try and make technical progress in microservers.

The three-year project, which started September 2013, is expected to deliver an innovative scalable computer system architecture this year and a hardware-software prototype implementation by the end of 2015.

The rise of cloud-enabled smart devices, cloud-based client services and the Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to create an opportunity as they will drive a shift in the needs of the IT infrastructure which is already under pressure to reduce power consumption even as it tries to scale up to serve increasing numbers of applications.

The Euroserver project is advocating the use of low-power ARM processors in a server architecture that uses 3D integration to scale processors, memory and I/O, all managed by system-wide virtualization and efficient use of resources by cloud applications. The group is aiming for a factor of ten improvement in energy efficiency over traditional server and microserver architectures.

Microservers are typically servers designed to serve applications that don't individually require high levels of computing performance but that may have to be done in large numbers and or may have critical latency aspects to performance. In the past servers tended to aim at ever higher performance and in recent years were the almost exclusive domain of the x86 processor architecture of Intel. Lower power microservers are now expected to take up an increasingly diverse number of data handling opportunities. And microservers have long been the chosen ground on which ARM has chosen to fight Intel in data center

John Goodacre, director of technology and systems at ARM and a visiting professor of computer architectures at the University of Manchester, said that the groups collaborating in Euroserver reflect the microserver profile. "TU Dresden is interested in the handling of databases in embedded telecom. Eurotech is a systems company looking at more deeply embedded applications," said Professor Goodacre. He also noted that that Spain's Barcelona Supercomputing Center is present which reflects an interest in scaling up to take on high performance computing.

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