Dell is now shipping ARM-based servers to a select list of customers and partners as part of a programme aimed at building up the ARM-based ecosystem, including providing remote access to ARM servers for developers.
The programme is targeting large datacentre customers operating workloads such as cloud computing, search engines and big data applications based on Hadoop, although Dell said that technologies from this initiative may eventually filter through into mainstream server platforms.
"This whole initiative is really enabling activity by Dell. The ARM developer community has been growing for a while now, but there is still a lot of work to be done on both the developer side and the customer side to really make it work," Dell vice president for enterprise solutions in Europe, Tony Parkinson, told V3.
The Dell "Copper" ARM servers are based on the PowerEdge C5000 chassis already used for Dell's microserver line. Each 3U chassis can be configured with up to 12 sled modules, while each sled consists of four separate ARM-based servers, enabling up to 48 individual server nodes to fit into each enclosure.
Unlike standard commercial servers, each ARM node is fitted with just 8GB memory, reflecting the fact that these systems are designed for handling specialised distributed workloads spread across thousands of nodes, rather than monolithic server applications calling for hundreds of gigabytes of RAM.
In addition, each ARM server consumes just 15W of power, reflecting the fact that energy efficiency is as important as node density and performance to the customers Dell is targeting.
"It's a completely different architecture to what most commercial customers are currently using," Parkinson said.
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