ARM releases 64-bit server standard in bid to drive eco-system compatibility

By Graeme Burton
29 Jan 2014 View Comments
Strong arming the banks

Microprocessor designer ARM has today unveiled its platform standard for ARM v8-A 64-bit servers, dubbed the ARM 'Server Base System Architecture' (SBSA) specification.

The SBSA is intended to provide a common server standard around which ARM partners can unify, ensuring cross-compatibility of software between different ARM-based servers.

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"This new standard was created with collaborative input and support from software companies such as Canonical, Citrix, Linaro, Microsoft, Red Hat and SuSE, and original equipments manufacturers (OEMs) including Dell and HP, along with a broad set of ARM's silicon partners," claimed the company in a statement.

It continued: "It provides a framework for the deployment of innovative ARM architecture-based solutions in data center applications and will help to accelerate software development and enable portability between ARM-based platforms. This specification will align ARM partners around key system elements, empowering the eco-system to build differentiated, value-added solutions that drive innovation and choice in the marketplace."

The aim is to simplify the development and deployment process for the entire developer ecosystem - from silicon to software, all the way through to end-users. "The SBSA specification will help OS, firmware and software developers to focus on innovation and quickly deploy on energy efficient, high performance ARM-based servers," said Mike Muller, chief technology officer at ARM.

"These standardization efforts will help speed adoption of ARM in the data center by providing consumers and software developers with the consistency and predictability they require. By helping increase the pace of innovation in ARM technologies by eliminating gratuitous differentiation in areas like device enumeration and boot process," said Frank Frankovsky, president and chairman of the Open Compute Project Foundation, which has been pioneering open server designs used by companies such as Facebook. 

Other organisations actively supporting the initiative include AMD, AppliedMicro, Broadcom, Cavium, Citrix and Texas Instruments.

"Adopting industry standards and defining base platforms are essential for creating a healthy ARM 64-bit server ecosystem. AMD is excited to have worked with ARM on the SBSA requirements. The public release of this specification will accelerate the adoption of ARM 64-bit servers," said Dr Leendert van Doorn, corporate fellow and corporate vice president of AMD, which will be releasing 64-bit ARM parts this year to coincide with the server push.

These parts include its "Seattle" ARM A57 64-bit 4- and 8-core Opteron A1100 parts.

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