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ARM server maker offers cloud service to port x86 code

Agam Shah | March 7, 2013
ARM processors are used mostly in smartphones, but Boston Limited is offering a service through which developers can port existing x86 applications to work on ARM servers, which can then be tested via a cloud service.

Boston is providing access over the cloud to a quad-core EnergyCore chip from Calxeda, which has ARM's Cortex-A9 processor. The chip also has networking, I/O and other components. Calxeda in the future will release a 64-bit ARM chip.

Porting x86 code to ARM could be surprisingly easy, if the code is written in a way that is conducive to porting and the necessary tools are accessible, said Rosemary Francis, managing director of Ellexus, in a blog entry on ARM's website.

Many tools such as applications and libraries are already built into the latest Linux distributions like Fedora and Ubuntu, Francis said. However, if there are issues, Ellexus' Breeze program helps troubleshoot scripts and tools by tracing all programs to extract file dependencies and environment settings, Francis said.

There is growing software support for ARM. Perhaps the most visible is Linaro, an ARM-backed organization that develops open-source software for ARM processors that includes drivers, tools and graphics interfaces. The software ultimately goes into Linux distributions. ARM already supports the OpenStack cloud OS. Companies like Cloudera, Citrix and Oracle developing ARM 64-bit versions of their software. Oracle is developing a 64-bit ARM version of Java Standard Edition.

 

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