Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

Dell: ARM servers could face software issues

Agam Shah | March 9, 2011
Dell is experimenting with chips based on ARM processors in its servers, but the architecture faces software issues that could stop it from being a viable alternative to x86 in the short term, a company executive said on Wednesday.

"Being a new guy precludes [ARM] from getting activity in that market," McCarron said.

ARM processors could find a start in Web servers, which are generally used for less critical activity. ARM-based chips could also be used in low-end servers sitting on shelves in offices, McCarron said.

Analysts have also pointed out that the ARM architecture has limitations that make the chip limited in scope for servers. The company's upcoming Cortex-A15 processor has a 32-bit design, while x86 chips such as Intel's latest Atom processors have 64-bit extensions.

On a recent earnings call, ARM CEO Warren East said the company would ultimately add 64-bit extensions to its processor, but that a sizeable chunk of the server market was already available with its current 32-bit designs as few server applications used 64-bit applications.

Norrod said that ARM is just one of the interesting storylines that have made the server market the most exciting since the earlier part of the past decade, when blade servers were being introduced in the market. Significant technological development and multiple demand drivers have led to new server designs and form factors, Norrod said.

"It got boring, but it's not boring anymore," Norrod said.

Beyond ARM processors, Dell will continue to expand in the low-power server space with x86 chips. The company will announce new microservers by the end of the month, which could come with the option of low-power netbook chips, a Dell spokesman said.

ARM's U.S. press representatives didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

Previous Page  1  2 

Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.