You may not have heard of ARM but I’m willing to bet that you’ve used or come across a device with an ARM processor. Currently ARM processors are most prevalent in smart phones and tablets but it appears that they are trying to move into the server market to assist in the creation of servers with low power consumption. Leading the processor market has always been both Intel and AMD in desktops, laptops and servers and with good reason as they boast some of the fastest processors available. With that speed though comes a large amount of energy usage whereas ARM’s processors don’t have the speed that AMD and Intel both have but they do use significantly less power.
Currently ARM has teamed up with Calxeda and has produced the processor that is fit for use in servers. So far Dell has agreed to build a server using the ARM processor. The Dell project is named Copper. The project has the servers designed to handle a series of SoC’s (System on Chip) so that each server would contain a series of mini computers all containing an ARM processor. This setup would allow each server to contain many cores of processing power. For the Copper server the total power used would be 750 watts which would be 15 watts per node.
As it stands there are very few applications that will work on ARM servers. Dell is planning on shipping servers via a seed unit program to customers to support the building of software for ARM architecture. To start off the servers will be designed for handling web applications and other services that don’t require the extra horsepower that AMD and Intel can provide. So let’s wait and see what happens with this project, I know I’m excited for it. If you’re looking to purchase a new server for your business, then give us a call and allow us to assist you.
Microsoft Corp. today announced at 2011 International CES that the next version of Windows will support System on a Chip (SoC) architectures, including ARM-based systems from partners NVIDIA Corp., Qualcomm Inc. and Texas Instruments Inc. On the x86 architecture, Intel Corporation and AMD continue their work on low-power SoC designs that fully support Windows, including support for native x86 applications. SoC architectures will fuel significant innovation across the hardware spectrum when coupled with the depth and breadth of the Windows platform.
At today’s announcement, Microsoft demonstrated the next version of Windows running on new SoC platforms from Intel running on x86 architecture and from NVIDIA, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments on ARM architecture. The technology demonstration included Windows client support across a range of scenarios, such as hardware-accelerated graphics and media playback, hardware-accelerated Web browsing with the latest Microsoft Internet Explorer, USB device support, printing and other features customers have come to expect from their computing experience. Microsoft Office running natively on ARM was also shown as a demonstration of the potential of Windows platform capabilities on ARM architecture.
Hooray? What does it all mean?
The long and short of it means the next version of Windows will be perfectly acceptable to run on a smaller device. More than likely tablets. Right now, in its current form, Windows 7 is a total mess on a tablet. It just wasn't built for it. I'm talking in both design and hardware requirements. Have you ever used Windows 7 on a tablet? It's pretty gross.
I have a VNC app on my iPad that can remote into the laptop in my office. There is a lot of tapping, tapping again, and then tapping a little closer. It's very difficult to use Windows on a touchscreen. Even if you had the perfect hardware specifications, it's a little hokey.
Microsoft announcing that the next version of their OS will run on the ARM architecture says a few things. For better or worse, it means that Microsoft thinks their desktop Windows UI is the way to go on the tablet space. It also means they've finally decided to take this space seriously. I expect the next version of Windows to have some graphical changes not just for desktop usage, but also tablet.
ARM will allow Microsoft to package their OS on a small form factor, with (hopefully) none of the drawbacks. No slow down, no overheating, etc.
Personally, I think Microsoft should have their Windows Phone 7 UI ported to the tablet. It's slick, it's new, and it would work well on a tablet. It remains to be seen if Windows 8 will do a better job. Are you using a tablet right now for your business? Let us know if we can help you with your tablet enterprising needs.