Wednesday, 11th December 2019
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Microsoft shakes up server market with ARM plans

There are only a small number of companies able to influence the industry in which they operate; ARM and Microsoft are two of them. So, when one of Microsoft’s senior technical leaders stood up yesterday to say that the company is running internal cloud-based workloads on ARM-based processors side by side with production workloads, it brought two great change-makers together. There is more opportunity now to increase dynamic competition in the server market.

Dr. Leendert van Doorn, Distinguished Engineer, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Corp., said in his blog yesterday, “We have been running evaluations side by side with our production workloads and what we see is quite compelling. The high Instruction Per Cycle (IPC) counts, high core and thread counts, the connectivity options and the integration that we see across the ARM ecosystem is very exciting and continues to improve.”

“We feel ARM servers represent a real opportunity and some Microsoft cloud services already have future deployment plans on ARM servers.”


Van Doorn delivered his thoughts to a global audience attending the 2017 Open Compute Project (OCP) U.S. Summit. In his blog post van Doorn goes on to say: “We feel ARM servers represent a real opportunity and some Microsoft cloud services already have future deployment plans on ARM servers.”

While his statements are measured, they will have far-reaching implications, setting the tone for the future of the server market. For ARM, this point has been a result of many years of hard work. After succeeding in mobile and seeing the technology move into a vast swathe of other sectors the company recognized the need to also get involved in data infrastructure. Now ARM is building its investments in next-generation network infrastructure and server technologies.

The investment in the growing software ecosystem for ARM-based server technologies was also cited by van Doorn. Additionally, the total cost of ownership (TCO) gaugtodayes are shifting, opening up new opportunities for an already healthy ecosystem of innovative silicon providers. This week at OCP, you will see two of those companies, Cavium and Qualcomm, demonstrate ARM-based SoC server platforms running a version of Windows Server ported for Microsoft internal use.

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