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AMD Is Driving the ARM Software Ecosystem Forward

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AMD’s first ARM® 64-bit server processor began sampling last March and you might be curious to know that beyond creating the hardware, AMD is heavily involved in innovating, along with our partners such as Oracle, around software for the ARM ecosystem – in addition to x86. We want to ensure there’s a robust software ecosystem ready for the hardware when it comes out, helping to speed data center adoption of the ARM platform.

ARM isn’t going to displace x86 chips in the data center for all applications; it’s better characterized as  a new entrant that has an opportunity because the data center scale has changed, as have the workloads running in those data centers. At AMD, we say one-size-fits-all computing is dead as it typically limits efficiency and results in higher cost solutions. Instead, we believe servers will be workload optimized, and with both ARM and x86, we’re offering choice among processor architectures.

We’re continuing to advance and promote both architectures because the data center of the future will be heterogeneous, relying on both types of processors for different workloads. Our x86 CPUs will still be used for legacy and transactional workloads in the data center such as public and private cloud, enterprise applications and databases. We’ll start to see ARM being used for more customized designs and accelerated workloads such as big data/analytics, NoSQL/Cassandra, content distribution, distributed storage and cold storage.

However, as ARM moves from low-end devices to servers, demand is increasing for the same tools that exist in the mature x86 world. That’s why adopting industry standards is essential for creating a healthy 64-bit ARM server ecosystem as this will accelerate adoption of ARM-based 64-bit servers. Data centers demand standards-based software and hardware offerings to ensure ease of deployment and management. In the end it is all about lowering the barrier of adoption.

Indeed, tools are becoming more consistent across both x86 and ARM and a critical component of that consistent tools infrastructure is Java. Java is key for building many of today’s web services workloads, such as Apache™ Hadoop® , databases, analytic tools, etc. Java provides a computer programming language that is portable and architecture-neutral, enabling developers to “write once, run anywhere.”

Java is one of the most popular programming languages, with reportedly 9 million developers using it.[1] Last week, I spoke at  JavaOne, where AMD and Oracle showcased how we’ve made tremendous progress toward efficient, large-scale data center computing using the AMD A1100-Series developer kit, which features AMD’s first 64-bit ARM® Cortex®-A57 based AMD Opteron™ A-Series processor.

The demonstration, running on the AMD A1100-Series developer kit, featured Hadoop running on the Oracle JDK. We also showed multiple nodes running the same demonstration using Linux environments based on Fedora technology from the Red Hat-sponsored Fedora community and the community supported OpenSUSE ProjectThe ability to run Hadoop on two Linux distributions and with two versions of Java highlights the growing breadth of the ARM server software ecosystem.

We continue to innovate around ARM with multiple partners, including ARM, Linaro, Red Hat, Suse and other leaders – to enable a robust 64-bit software ecosystem for ARM-based designs from compilers and simulators to hypervisors, operating systems and application software, in order to address key workloads in data center environments. Together, we’ll drive the evolution of the data center to offer choice among processors.

Leendert van Doorn is a Corporate Fellow at AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied.

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*Originally Posted by Guest Blogger in AMD Business on Oct 14, 2014 8:57:06 AM