Qualcomm said it had been working with Vole for several years on ARM-based server enablement and has onsite engineering at Microsoft to collaboratively optimise a version of Windows Server, for Microsoft's internal use in its data centres, on Qualcomm Centriq 2400-based systems.
I'd also note that Microsoft's answer to my second question, where officials said that Azure runs on Windows Server had me a bit confused, since Microsoft officials have regularly pointed out (at least to me) that Windows Server and Azure aren't the same. But ARM chips are known to be more power-efficient and do come from a wide range of vendors.
While there is no word when these processors will be deployed in production, Jason Zander, vice president of Microsoft's Azure cloud division, told Bloomberg it would be happening. According to Bloomberg, the first punch may already have landed, as Hewlett Packard Enterprise recently reported poor quarterly revenue thanks to "significant lower demand" from a major customer, believed to be Microsoft. As we've talked about here at The Next Platform, despite the idea of ARM-based servers being debated for nearly a decade and the pent-up demand among end users for viable alternatives to Intel and its X86-based chips, there has not been widespread adoption of such systems. "We wouldn't even bring something to a conference if we didn't think this was a committed project and something that's part of our road map". On 2016 alone, Intel has created an operating profit of 7.5 Billion USD from a 17.2 Billion USD worth of sales in the cloud and data center industry.
One of those planned components is an add-in box made by Microsoft and chipmaker Nvidia Corp. that plugs into the server to enable powerful processing for artificial intelligence tasks. Additionally, as noted by ComputerWorld, back in 2011 Microsoft showed no interests of running Windows Server on ARM servers, so this latest news is very welcoming. It is now looking to gain some validation about the capabilities of the said server chip before the tech giants start boosting their cloud architecture using the same.
And it seems that Microsoft is not messing around. The specification, based on the latest version of Microsoft's Project Olympus - a open source cloud hardware design - addresses multiple areas of hardware and software, including board development, firmware, operating system, compilers and tools and CoreCLR security.
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Both the companies' collaborations are meant to focus on the future that would acceleration servers and memory technologies. That may be changing this year as Qualcomm, one of the few companies that can rival Intel's spending on research and design, begins offering its first server processor and as other chipmakers finally field long-promised chips that are capable of competing.
Qualcomm said that the Centriq 2400 Open Compute Motherboard will be on display at Microsoft's booth Open Computer Platform US Summit in Santa Clara this week.
More than nine out of 10 of the world's smartphones run on ARM-based processors, which rose to prominence for their low power use relative to their performance.