LONDON – Dell Inc. said it has started shipping server computers called Copper based on the ARM processor architecture to selected customers. The servers are based on Marvell's quad-core Armada XP SoC products.
Dell (Round Rock, Texas) said it was responding to demands from its customers for it to enable the development of an ecosystem for ARM-based servers and that it believes they are well suited to web-hosting front-ends and Hadoop environments. Hadoop is an open source software framework that supports data-intensive distributed applications.
"The ARM-based server market is approaching an inflection point, marked by increasing customer interest in testing and developing applications, and Dell believes now is the right time to help foster development and testing of operating systems and applications for ARM servers," the company said in a statement.
Dell said it had began testing ARM processors for servers internally in 2010 in response to increasing customer demands for increased power efficiency and computing density.
Dell said it would be delivering Copper servers to partners such as Canonical and Cloudera to support their development activities.
The processors are Marvell-designed 1.6-GHz CPU cores that support both symmetrical and antisymmetrical multi-processing with hardware cache coherency and a 64-bit DDR2/DDR3 memory interface at an 800-MHz clock rate and 1600-MHz data rate. These devices also incorporate up to 2-Mbytes of L2 cache, Quad x4 PCI-express interfaces, multiple USB ports, Gigabit Ethernet ports, SATA, security engine and advanced power management techniques.
There is no such thing as "antisymmetrical multi-processing". http://www.marvell.com/embedded-processors/armada-xp/ says "asymmetrical".
(I wonder what their asymmetrical mode is; couldn't find it in the literature. The earlier Armada 628 had a third core that ran at half the speed; maybe one of the XP's cores can do that if desired?)
Rick, sorry for the delayed reply, I have been traveling in the UK. Dell is ahead in terms of box shipments. Dell has selected Marvell for these protogtpyes and these boxes will be going to ISVs AND end users. In the latter case, this is end users that own their own software stack. This is not a general purpose server of course.....These trials will generate real comparisons on server workloads between platforms. Then let the best man/woman win....
Chanji, you can find out more information regarding the platform specifications here
I saw some information somewhere (probably the press release) regarding power consumption on a per blade basis.
Marvell had gone quiet in the ARM server space so this is a big deal for them. Calxeda was quick to say Dell will also support them.
It's not clear if Dell is at all ahead of HP with its Moonshot program. If Dell is only shipping to ISVs like Cloudera and not to actual end users, they are still in a phase of kicking the tires.
Anyone from Dell care to comment?