Calxeda, one of the firms spearheading the push for ARM-based servers in the datacentre, has launched its second generation of chips with the promise of up to twice the performance.
Announced today, the EnergyCore ECX-2000 family is based on ARM's Cortex-A15 core design in place of the Cortex-A9 technology used in the earlier ECX-1000 line-up. Thanks to this, the new family is capable of up to twice the performance, four times the memory capacity, and three times the memory bandwidth.
Calxeda said it expects volume shipments to system vendors before the end of the year, but it has already begun sampling the ECX-2000 to data centre customers and partners, such as HP which is set to use the new system on a chip (SoC) family in its Moonshot high-density server system.
Like its first generation silicon, the EnergyCore ECX-2000 combines up to four ARM-based CPU cores with an on-chip Fleet Fabric Switch interconnect, plus integrated network, memory and PCI Express controllers.
However, the new SoC is clocked at a higher 1.8GHz and now supports up to 16GB of memory, as well as being based on a more modern ARM core design.
As well as offering greater performance, the Cortex-A15 has hardware features for virtualisation, enabling it to support hypervisors such as KVM and Xen. This enables production-class cloud infrastructure based on ARM processors for the first time, according to Calxeda.
The firm said that Linux developer Canonical has officially certified the ECX-2000 for Ubuntu 13.10, which integrates the latest OpenStack cloud release, Havana.
Calxeda chief executive Barry Evans claimed that the pace of innovation seen in the mobile space driven by power-efficient ARM chips is now coming to the data centre.
"The Calxeda Fleet Fabric enables our customers to create an extremely efficient computing infrastructure that improves management of large-scale clouds at lower cost, lower power, and reduced carbon footprint. Coupled with the strength of our software and hardware partners, this is an unbeatable combination in an industry that is demanding better alternatives," he said.
Calxeda also added a new codename to its roadmap. Sarita will be a 64-bit processor based on ARM's Cortex-A57 core, and is expected to launch next year alongside the Lago 64-bit chip the firm has already disclosed. Sarita will be pin-compatible with the ECX-1000 and new ECX-2000, which is expected to see a speedier introduction of 64-bit ARM-based servers.
However, Calxeda is not the only vendor in this market: AMD aims to launch a 64-bit Opteron chip based on the ARM Cortex-A57 in 2014. This is due to be an eight-core chip, with sixteen core versions planned for the future.
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