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ARMed and Dangerous

When Microsoft struck a deal to support ARM processors, most of the attention focused on mobile devices -- phones, tablets, etc.

But ARM can also power servers, and here there is potential to improve the efficiency of data centers since ARM processors suck so little juice.

Windows Servers used to support Alpha and other chips through its Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL), but Microsoft let that whole initiative languish. ARM may bring the concept back. In fact, some OEMs are already building early ARM servers.

I wouldn't expect to see real ARM servers 'til Windows 8 and its server companion ships in the next couple of years. Once available, cloud providers may latch on to reduce power costs and gain the stability that hopefully these system-on-chip machines should offer.  

While the ARM stuff is interesting, I wouldn't exactly expect Intel and AMD to stand still. And since Windows has run on Intel-compatible chips for a couple decades, I'd say the advantage goes to them.

What say you? Are you ready to ARM your servers? Yes and nos equally welcome at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 01/28/2011 at 1:18 PM


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