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Servergy ready to pit IBM's servers vs x86, ARM

Posted: 25 Oct 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:x86 servers? IBM power processor? SoC makers? Linux servers? ARM?

Servergy Inc., a low-power server company, is set to debut its systems based on the IBM power processor architechture. The company will debut its products this week at the Power.org conference in Shanghai, China. So far, few details are available about how the systems from Servergy Inc. will compete with existing x86 servers and a gathering storm of ARM-based servers.

The start-up is led by Bill Mapp, a former principal in IBM's services group, who claims he once snagged a $3.8 billion deal for the computer giant. The company's Web site lists its other top managers, including former executives from companies such as Texas Instruments and Hewlett-Packard.

Servergy describes its products in general terms as Linux servers running on Power architecture processors. The company did not respond to questions.

The start-up's Web site lists four systemssingle, dual- and quad-socket servers in a 1U pizza box along with a fully configured rack. The single socket systems measure 14 x 8.5 x 1.75 inch (convert to mm except for displays)es (convert to mm except for displays).

Figure: Servergy's CTS-1000.

Servergy claims the large racks offer "industry leading performance per watt." The single-socket servers offer "up to 80 per cent less power and space," but fail to provide comparisons or other specifics about performance.

It's not clear whether Servergy designed its own Power processor or is using an off-the-shelf chip. Managers listed on the Web site do not include anyone with a background in microprocessor design, yet analysts said they are unaware of any company making merchant Power chips for servers. One possibility is the company could be using a chip derived from an existing IBM chip design.

Head to head: IBM Power vs. ARM
The Power architecture is likely to have higher performance but also higher power consumption than ARM-based SoCs. Currently, at least five companies are designing ARM-based server SoCs, including Applied Micro, which has a background with the Power architecture in communications chips. The company nevertheless opted for a 64bit custom ARM core for its upcoming XGene server chips.

Other ARM server SoC makers include start-up Calxeda, which has a 32bit chip now shipping in systems and a 64bit chip planned for 2014. Dell is using Marvell's 32bit Armada XP chip in servers. Cavium has announced plans for 64bit ARM server SoCs and Samsung reportedly also has a project in the works.

Hewlett-Packard recently announced a family of low power servers designed to use a variety of CPU architectures. It picked Intel's dual-core Atom server chip, Centerton, for the first member of the family.

A Synergy press release contained general comments praising the start-up from leaders of the Power.org group and the Linux Foundation. The news comes one week before the opening of the annual ARM Tech Con at which Applied is expected to give the first demo of an ASIC version of its 64bit XGene.

- Rick Merritt
??EE Times





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