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CloudExpo® Blog Authors: Elizabeth White, Ian Goldsmith, David Sprott, Liz McMillan, Baruch Sadogursky

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ARM Ecosystem Collaborates to Deliver Initial Server Platform Standard

ARM® today announced the collaborative development and immediate availability of a platform standard for ARMv8-A based (64-bit) servers, known as the ARM ‘Server Base System Architecture’ (SBSA) specification. This effort included input and support from software companies such as Canonical, Citrix, Linaro, Microsoft, Red Hat and SUSE, and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) including Dell and HP along with a broad set of silicon partners. This specification provides a framework for the deployment of innovative ARM architecture-based solutions in data center applications, and it will help accelerate software development and enable portability between ARM-based platforms. This specification is focused on aligning the ARM partnership around key system elements; empowering the ecosystem to build differentiated, value-added solutions that accelerate innovation and choice in the marketplace.

Data centers demand standards-based software and hardware offerings to ensure ease of deployment and manageability. Releasing the SBSA specification marks the beginning of a broader standardization activity that will simplify the development and deployment process for the entire developer ecosystem – from silicon to software, and all the way through to end-users. This initiative will accelerate the software ecosystem for ARM-based servers by providing operating system vendors (OSVs) and independent software vendors (ISVs) the ability to deliver technology that addresses the entirety of the ARM server community, featuring a rich, broad set of devices and platforms in a common way.

“As ARM’s data center ecosystem continues its rapid growth, this milestone enables partners to focus on their innovation while building on standards that help simplify their development and accelerate their time-to-market," said Mike Muller, chief technology officer, ARM. "As owners and stewards of the ARM architecture, we are pleased to collaborate with other industry leaders to drive standards that enable OS, firmware and software developers to rapidly develop and deploy on ARM-based servers.”

“We are extremely pleased to see ARM take these steps, which we believe are very much in line with the principles of the Open Compute Project,” said Frank Frankovsky, president and chairman, Open Compute Project Foundation. “These standardization efforts will help speed adoption of ARM in the datacenter by providing consumers and software developers with the consistency and predictability they require, and by helping increase the pace of innovation in ARM technologies by eliminating gratuitous differentiation in areas like device enumeration and boot process.”

Mobility and the Internet of Things (IoT) are driving the rapid adoption of cloud-based services, and data center operators have to adapt to the shifting characteristics of these new workloads. In order to efficiently meet these demands, the industry is seeking a richer choice of targeted solutions where software portability and standardization are key deployment considerations.

ARM Partner Quotes

AMD:

“Adopting industry standards and defining base platforms are essential for creating a healthy ARM-based 64-bit server ecosystem,” said Dr. Leendert van Doorn, corporate fellow and corporate vice president, AMD. “AMD is excited to have worked with ARM on the Server Base System Architecture requirements, and the public release of this specification will accelerate the adoption of ARM-based 64-bit servers.”

AppliedMicro:

“With X-Gene as the first product in the industry to be SBSA compliant, AppliedMicro is in full support of the ARM server standardization efforts,” said Dr. Paramesh Gopi, president and chief executive officer, AppliedMicro. “Bringing together OS vendors, server OEMs and silicon providers to work cohesively is providing a fully inter-operable standard platform at the same time fostering innovation resulting in compelling server solutions.”

Broadcom:

“Broadcom strongly believes in the value of standardization and ensuring software interoperability for the long-term success of the 64-bit ARM architecture,” said Ron Jankov, senior vice president and general manager, Processors and Wireless Infrastructure, Broadcom. “With the ARM 64-bit architecture, Broadcom is uniquely positioned to provide leadership in the 64-bit ARM ecosystem with server-class CPUs, best-in-class hardware acceleration, and data-center networking expertise.”

Canonical:

“ARM-based servers have the potential to transform the datacenter ecosystem back into a dynamic, innovative market,” said Christian Reis, vice president, Hyperscale Computing, Canonical. “We see the SBSA effort removing barriers to adoption by providing a framework for system implementation that any technology supplier can easily understand and follow. Canonical fully supports this effort and is committed to SBSA compliance for our Ubuntu Server product family.”

Cavium:

“Cavium's Project Thunder will provide a family of multicore ARMv8 64-bit server-class processors for the cloud and data centers,” said Gopal Hegde, vice president and general manager, Data Center Processor Group, Cavium. “Working closely with ARM and the ecosystem, the Thunder product offering will provide a comprehensive workload optimized portfolio solution that will be interoperable across multiple management and orchestration standards. We applaud ARM's leadership in spearheading the Server Platform Standard that will accelerate the adoption of the ARM architecture in the data center and cloud environment.”

Citrix:

“Citrix is the cloud company that enables mobile workstyles. Citrix is committed to open standards and has been recently engaged in the Server Base System Architecture discussion. We see the publication of the document as a positive move for the industry,” said Ahmed Sallam, vice president and chief technology officer, Hardware, Security, Emerging Solutions and IP, Citrix Systems. “The SBSA will foster the ARM-based server ecosystem and will act as a foundation for the coming years. Citrix will remain engaged in SBSA discussions and we will continue to provide our input based on what benefits our industry, partners and customers.”

DELL:

“Open and standards-based technologies have been a cornerstone of Dell's philosophy for 30 years,” said Brian Payne, executive director of server solutions for Dell. “As multiple ARMv8 server system-on-chips become available, it's important that we can effectively deliver new innovations and freedom of choice to our customers. A well-defined, standards-based platform is instrumental in providing OS portability and a familiar user experience to our customers seeking to deploy these new classes of server offerings. We are pleased with the progress the ARM ecosystem has made towards achieving this significant goal.”

HP:

“HP has supported ARM’s standardization effort since its inception, recognizing the benefits of an extensible platform with value-added features,” said Dong Wei, HP fellow. “With the new SBSA specification, we are able to establish a simplified baseline for deploying ARM-based solutions and look forward to future HP products based on the ARM architecture.”

Linaro:

“The ARM architecture and business model is unique in enabling rapid innovation from multiple ARM licensees. Many companies are now building innovative and differentiated solutions for the next generation low-power data center,” said David Rusling, chief technical officer, Linaro. “ARM's SBSA is a critical component of enabling technology to standardize the common part of these solutions, and we look forward to working with ARM and ARM's licensees on utilizing this technology to accelerate the deployment of a broad range of ARMv8-based server products.”

Red Hat:

“Standardization is essential to the successful adoption and deployment of modern computer architectures, such as ARMv8. At Red Hat, we are proud of our ongoing collaboration with ARM on server standards, such as the ARM Server Base System Architecture,” said Jon Masters, chief ARM architect, Red Hat. “Today's announcement marks the beginning of a series of exciting and important developments in terms of platform standards for the ARM architecture. We look forward to continuing to bring our unique insight as the world's leading supplier of Open Source server technologies, working with ARM, and the ARM partnership, to drive the adoption of a unified common platform approach that will facilitate the deployment of ARM at Hyperscale.”

SUSE:

“SUSE has worked on and supported development around ARM processors for several years, and we anticipate ARM processor adoption in cloud, big data and high-performance computing applications,” said Ralf Flaxa, vice president of engineering, SUSE. “SUSE welcomes the SBSA standardization efforts and is proud to contribute to the server platform standard’s development. As the market emerges, this standard will become a key factor determining success in the enterprise ecosystem, and we look forward to working with platforms that implement it.”

Texas Instruments:

“As an early innovator of unique server-grade KeyStone SoCs that combine digital signal processors, ARM Cortex processors, packet processing, security acceleration and Ethernet switching, TI applauds the ARM ecosystem for its collaboration on delivering the SBSA specification, ” said Bill Mills, chief technologist for open source, Texas Instruments. “Standardizations, such as SBSA, enable software simplification without impacting the innovation our heterogeneous compute elements bring to high-performance compute customers.”

To download a copy of the Server Base System Architecture specification, go to: http://infocenter.arm.com/help/index.jsp. To learn more about ARM products and the server platform standard, contact your ARM sales representative.

About ARM

ARM designs the technology that is at the heart of advanced digital products, from wireless, networking and consumer entertainment solutions to imaging, automotive, security and storage devices. ARM’s comprehensive product offering includes RISC microprocessors, graphics processors, video engines, enabling software, cell libraries, embedded memories, high-speed connectivity products, peripherals and development tools. Combined with comprehensive design services, training, support and maintenance, and the company’s broad Partner community, they provide a total system solution that offers a fast, reliable path to market for leading electronics companies. Find out more about ARM by following these links:

Download Shared Purpose – 8 Leadership Lessons for the Ecosystem Age
The secrets of success from the Connected Community surrounding ARM

Find out more about ARM by following these links:
ARM website: http://www.arm.com/
ARM Connected Community®: http://www.arm.com/community/
ARM Blogs: http://blogs.arm.com/
ARMFlix on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/armflix
ARM on Twitter:

ARM, Artisan and Cortex are registered trademarks of ARM Limited. Mali and POP are trademarks of ARM Limited. All other brands or product names are the property of their respective holders. "ARM" is used to represent ARM Holdings plc; its operating company ARM Limited; and the regional subsidiaries: ARM Inc.; ARM KK; ARM Korea Ltd.; ARM Taiwan Limited; ARM France SAS; ARM Consulting (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.; ARM Belgium Services BVBA; ARM Germany GmbH; ARM Embedded Technologies Pvt. Ltd.; ARM Norway AS and ARM Sweden AB.

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