Perspectives From Linaro Connect

– From Larry Wikelius,   Co-Founder and VP Ecosystems,  Calxeda:
The most recent Linaro Connect (Linaro Connect Asia 2013 – LCA), held in Hong Kong the first week of March, really put a spotlight on the incredible momentum around ARM based technology and products moving into the Data Center.  Yes – you read that correctly – the DATA CENTER!
When Linaro was originally launched almost three years ago the focus was exclusively on the mobile and client market – where ARM has and continues to be dominant.  However, as Calxeda has demonstrated, the opportunity for the ARM architecture goes well beyond devices that you carry in your pocket.  Calxeda was a key driver in the formation of the Linaro Enterprise Group (LEG), which was publicly launched at the previous LinaroConnect event in Copenhagen in early November, 2012.  LEG has been an exciting development for Linaro and now has 13 member companies that include server vendors such as Calxeda, Linux distribution companies Red Hat and Canonical, OEM representation from HP and even Hyperscale Data Center end user Facebook.  There were many sessions throughout the week that focused on Server specific topics such as UEFI, ACPI, Virtualization, Hyperscale Testing with LAVA and Distributed Storage.  Calxeda was very active throughout the week with the team participating directly in a number of roadmap definition sessions, presenting on Server RAS and providing guidance in key areas such as application optimization and compiler focus for Servers.
 
Linaro Connect is proving to be a tremendous catalyst for the the growing eco-system around the ARM software community as a whole and the server segment in particular.  A great example of this was the keynote presentation given jointly by Mark Heath and Lars Kurth from Citrix on Tuesday morning.  Mark is the VP of XenServer at Citirix and Lars is well know in the OpenSource community for his work with Xen.  The most exciting announcement coming out of Mark’s presentation is that Citrix will be joining Linaro as a member of LEG.  Citrix will be certainly prove to be another valuable member of the Linaro team and during the week attendees were able to appreciate how serious Citrix is about supporting ARM servers.  The Xen team has not only added full support for ARM V7 systems in the Xen 4.3 release but they have accomplished some very impressive optimizations for the ARM platform.  The Xen team has leveraged Device Tree for optimal device discovery.  Combined with a number of other code optimizations they showed a dramatically smaller code base for the ARM platform.  We at Calxeda are thrilled to welcome Citrix into LEG!
As an indication of the draw that the Linaro Connect conference is already having on the broader industry the Open Compute Project (OCP) held their first International Event co-incident with LCA at the same venue.  The synergy between Linaro and OCP is significant with the emphasis on both organizations around Open Source development (one software and one hardware) along with the dramatically changing design points for today’s Hyperscale Data Center.  In fact the keynote at LCA on Wednesday morning really put a spotlight on how significant this is likely to be.  Jason Taylor, Director of Capacity Engineering and Analysis at Facebook, presented on Facebook’s approach to ARM based servers.   Facebook’s consumption of Data Center equipment is quite stunning – Jason quoted from Facebook’s 10-Q filed in October 2012 which stated that “The first nine months of 2012 … $1.0 billion for capital expenditures” related to data center equipment and infrastructure.  Clearly with this level of investment Facebook is extremely motivated to optimize where possible.  Jason focused on the strategic opportunity for ARM based severs in a disaggregated Data Center of the future to provide lower cost computing capabilities with much greater flexibility.
Calxeda has been very active in building the Server Eco-System for ARM based servers.  This week in Hong Kong really underscored how important that investment has become – not just for Calxeda but for the industry as a whole. Our commitment to Open Source software development in general and Linaro in particular has resulted in a thriving Linux Infrastructure for ARM servers that allows Calxeda to leverage and focus on key differentiation for our end users.  The Open Compute Project, which we are an active member in and have contributed to key projects such as the Knockout Storage design as well as the Open Slot Specification, demonstrates how the combination of an Open Source approach for both Software and Hardware can compliment each other and can drive Data Center innovation.  We are early in this journey but it is very exciting!
Calxeda will continue to invest aggressively in forums and industry groups such as these to drive the ARM based server market.  We look forward to continue to work with the incredibly innovative partners that are members in these groups and we are confident that more will join this exciting revolution.  If you are interested in more information on these events and activities please reach out to us directly at info@calxeda.com.
The next Linaro Connnect is scheduled for early July in Dublin. We expect more exciting events and topics there and hope to see you there!
-Larry

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  1. [...] Perspectives From Linaro Connect [Calxeda’s ‘ARM Servers, Now!’ blog, March 20, 2013] sheds more light on the recent software [...]

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