Feeds

Gasp! Facebook's hardware king joins board of ARM server biz Calxeda

Mournful puckering sound squeaks out of Intel HQ

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

Facebook's head of hardware design and supply chain operations has joined the board of directors of Calxeda, a company that specializes in building servers out of ARM processors.

The strategic appointment was announced on Thursday and will see the man in charge of one of the biggest buyers of modern chips, and leader of the "open source" data center hardware Open Compute Project scheme, gain further insight into the inner workings of a company that hopes to displace Intel in the data center. Yes, readers, Chipzilla should be worried about this.

Intel traditionally designs and fabricates its own family of silicon for the masses, and although has recently dabbled in producing customized packages, it's always been ARM's business to license processor blueprints to semiconductor giants, which then tweak and manufacture the chips as they desire under different brand names.

And just last week the fantastically named Frank Frankovsky told us in an unrelated chat that "the really cool thing about the ARM ecosystem is end users [such as Facebook] could become architectural licensees," and stressed that just as Facebook is beginning to do custom chips with Intel, it is also interested in some of the opportunities posed by the power-sipping ARM chips that are beginning to come out for servers.

Facebook doesn't necessarily want to design and build its own chips, he said, insisting that it would only need to do that if it was "ineffective at influencing [ARM] suppliers." You can't get much better influence over a company than being on the board of a company working in that space.

"The Calxeda team has a terrific vision for the role of ARM in the datacenter, and they have the talent, the technology, and the commitment to openness required to execute on that vision,” Frankovsky said in a statement announcing the move. "I’m thrilled to have an opportunity to collaborate with their executive team and the rest of the board more deeply as they work toward 64-bit fabric and beyond."

It's unlikely that ARM will ever displace Intel in Facebook's data center (or any large facility, for that matter) since the social network needs chips with screaming fast CPUs to deliver dynamic web pages and perform similar tasks.

But we wouldn't be surprised if Facebook experimented with putting low-power ARM chips inside the controllers for its cold storage servers – after all, the economics and task fit ARM perfectly for that, seeing as its cores are used as the brains in hard drives, despite Intel's recent low-power Atom push. ®

Reducing security risks from open source software

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
SHOCK and AWS: The fall of Amazon's deflationary cloud
Just as Jeff Bezos did to books and CDs, Amazon's rivals are now doing to it
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
The triumph of VVOL: Everyone's jumping into bed with VMware
'Bandwagon'? Yes, we're on it and so what, say big dogs
Carbon tax repeal won't see data centre operators cut prices
Rackspace says electricity isn't a major cost, Equinix promises 'no levy'
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.