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ARM accelerates server software ecosystem efforts

Agam Shah | May 18, 2011
ARM Holdings is seeking the support of software makers for its plan to put its low-power processors in servers, company executives said this week.

ARM introduced its first processor that could go into servers, the Cortex-A15, in September last year. McNiven said the company is looking to work with virtualization software makers to build applications that take advantage of the processor's virtualization features.

As the addressable market increases, ARM will also work with companies to develop server OSes and to optimize runtimes such as Java to work effectively on ARM processors in server environments.

The company will try to reuse existing code written for mobile devices in the server software ecosystem, McNiven said. That could help reduce software development costs for companies. ARM was able reuse mobile code on its internal server, and software such as browser or networking stacks can be easily ported across device types, McNiven said.

ARM declined to name specific software companies it is working with. But the company has successfully worked with Google, Apple and Microsoft to develop mobile OSes such as Android, iOS and Windows Phone 7. Microsoft's next Windows operating system will also work on ARM processors, and Google has said it is developing Chrome OS for ARM processors.

But ARM faces hardware challenges as it tries to establish a presence in the server market. The Cortex-A15 does not include 64-bit addressing, and has a limited physical memory ceiling. However, ARM CEO Warren East has said the company has access to a large part of the server market as many cloud applications on servers are 32-bit.


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