SAN JOSE, Calif.--Startup Calxeda has disclosed its two-year road map including its first 64-bit chip just over a week before ARM TechCon, when competitors are expected to announce 64-bit ARM server SoCs. Calxeda also announced Penguin Computer will sell systems using its current 32-bit CPUs.
Calxeda plans to ship its Lago chip in 2014. The chip, an SoC using more than four 64-bit ARM V8 cores,includes an upgraded fabric geared for data centers that will link tens or hundreds of thousands of servers across a data center.
The Lago fabric will sport Fleet Services, a proprietary Calxeda interconnect that links SoCs across boards and, using optical links, between chassis. Fleet Services uses the Xaui transport and a Calxeda API for setting policies that manage chips on the interconnect.
Calxeda promises Fleet Services will ease the job of allocating and optimizing resources on large networks. The SoC is geared for large Web 2.0 data centers and also is gaining interest from users in financial services and high-performance clusters, said Karl Freund, vice president of marketing at Calxeda.
Lago will arrive about the same time as production 64-bit ARM server SoCs from Applied Micro, Cavium and others. "We’ll be in that same wave," Freund said.
All the players are trying to enable servers at a performance-per-watt level Intel can’t reach with its current x86 chips. Among other competitors, Marvell has a 32-bit chip now being used in Dell systems, but Marvell has not announced its 64-bit plans. Samsung is reportedly working on ARM server SoCs but has yet to announce plans.
“Everybody is going to jump in, and it may get a bit crowded, but it validates the market,” said Freund, whose startup recently snagged $55 million in a round of venture capital.
Next year, Calxeda plans to ship Midway, an upgrade of its current chip that uses four ARM Cortex A9 cores. Midway uses four A15 cores and sports enhancements to the Calxeda fabric such as an ability to automatically shift as workloads need between gigabit and 10 Gbit links.
Midway, geared for rack-based systems, is compatible with Calxeda’s current chip, although it uses a slightly different pinout. The company is not saying yet which process technologies it will use for Midway or Lago.
Meanwhile, Penguin Computer has announced it will make systems for sale in North America based on the existing Calxeda EnergyCore ECX-1000 chips. It is expected to announce in November details of the 3U systems that will pack 36 3.5-inch disk drives.
Currently Boston Ltd. sells Calxeda-based systems in Asia and Europe. The company published power consumption details of the system today (see below). The system packs 24 Calxeda chips and 24 solid-state drives in a 2U chassis that draws up to 200W at the wall.
Here is an article with preliminary benchmarks http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=calxeda_ubuntu_pre&num=1
Get one for yourself @ http://www.systemfabricworks.com/products/systemfabricore
I am told the Web 2.0 data centers have written much of their own code and done it for 64-bit data sets, but some enterprise Web server and other systems can squeak by on 32-bit code.
I believe there may be some third-party benchmarks f0or Calxeda out today. Anyone see them?
64b for them makes sense. Any idea on whether customers are signing up for the 32b processors.
The power measurement charts like the one in the article is questionable. It does not mention the performance or what workload was running on the webserver e.g. The ECX-1000 is low power - that is a given but what performance does it get?
Charts such as these make them lose credibility.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.