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After a long road to the server market, ARM CEO Segars looks ahead

Agam Shah | Oct. 2, 2014
After suffering a series of setbacks on the way to getting 64-bit ARM servers into the hands of users, company CEO Simon Segars prefers to take a fresh look at market opportunities instead of dwelling on the past.

Software support for ARM 64-bit chips is also growing. ARM servers have demonstrated support for the LAMP (Linux, Apache Web server, MySQL database and PHP tools) stack. Many enterprise applications run on Java, and Oracle has released the Java Development Kit 8 for ARM. ARM servers also support Hadoop, which is open-source software for distributed computing.

ARM's expectations in the server market remain conservative, and it doesn't expect to overtake Intel anytime soon. But AMD — which also makes x86 server chips — has predicted a bright future for ARM servers.

Challenges await ARM, however, as it looks ahead to the server market. Dell recently said that processor delays have hurt ARM in servers as Intel closes in with more power-efficient Atom chips. Switching from x86 processors to ARM would require a heavy software and infrastructure investment, and customers may not be motivated to do so if the power-efficiency difference is minimal. Server makers have also said that Intel's Xeon chips have more processing power and remain a better option for data-intensive applications like databases and ERP (enterprise resource planning).

Outside of servers, ARM is expected to showcase many IOT technologies at TechCon. The company this month introduced a new chip called Cortex M7 for use in robots, wearables and Internet-connected devices, and is expected to talk about a software development kit and standards that could make it faster to write applications and deploy devices.

ARM has long had a presence in the embedded market, with its products being used in appliances, set-top boxes, networking and storage equipment. At TechCon, AppliedMicro will introduce an embedded chip called Helix, while Advanced Micro Devices will show an embedded chip called Hierofalcon performing NFV (networking function virtualization) functions. Both the chips are based on the ARMv8 64-bit instruction set architecture.

ARM won't share further details about the second wave of 64-bit processor designs, code-named Artemis and Maia, which were teased in late July. The designs are under development, and the company is not ready to share a release date, Segars said.


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