Feeds

Red Hat rallies hardware makers with 64-bit ARM server partner program

Standards sought for low-power data center kit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Red Hat has upped its commitment to support servers based on the ARM processor architecture, with the formation of a new partner program specifically for vendors of 64-bit ARM hardware for the data center.

The Red Hat ARM Partner Early Access Program is aimed at both chipmakers and server builders, and its early members include AMD, American Megatrends, AppliedMicro, Broadcom, Cavium, Dell, HP, Linaro, and ARM Holdings itself.

"By providing our participating partners with the tools, resources and support needed to build a common development platform, we can help facilitate partner-driven 64-bit ARM solutions that are based upon Red Hat technologies," Jim Totton, VP of Red Hat's platform business unit, said in a shrinkwrapped statement.

Among the program's goals will be to give participants early access to Red Hat software for 64-bit ARM, as well as to collaborate on standardized server software and application development platforms that can support multiple hardware designs.

The industry has been abuzz with talk of replacing traditional server iron with power-sipping, ARM-based kit for the last few years, but only now that the 64-bit ARMv8-A architecture has matured has the tech really seemed ready to break into the mainstream.

In fact, Karl Freund, former chief marketer for early ARM server chipmaker Calxeda, has said that one reason for Calxeda's collapse in December was that large software vendors seemed unwilling to get behind its 32-bit designs – and he called out Red Hat, in particular.

Shadowman seems genuinely bullish about ARMv8-A hardware, however, no doubt because it will be easier to port its existing software portfolio for the Intel platform to a 64-bit target.

For hardware makers, the chief selling point of ARM is thought not to be its performance per watt – which, though admirable, is likely to be matched by Intel soon – but its flexibility. Chipmakers are free to license ARM processor cores and bolt on any other components they want, resulting in a wide range of components for server OEMs to choose from.

But the chief stumbling block for ARM in the data center has been that because chipmakers have such freedom in designing their silicon, different vendors' ARM system-on-chips (SOCs) have been incompatible in subtle ways, forcing software makers to rejigger their code for each product. The result has been a fragmented ecosystem that's hard for open source projects like Linux to properly support.

Recently, ARM has proposed a standard for 64-bit ARM server SoC interoperability that could clear up some of this fragmentation. As Red Hat was one of the companies that helped develop this spec – along with AMD, Broadcom, and Linaro, among others – it will likely inform the early standardization work of the Red Hat ARM Partner Early Access Program.

Beyond this low-level work, however, Red Hat says it intends its partner program to also produce developer tools and documentation based on common standards that will be able to support both today's and tomorrow's ARM server hardware. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email
Print this article out and give it to someone tech-y if you get stuck
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
FTDI yanks chip-bricking driver from Windows Update, vows to fight on
Next driver to battle fake chips with 'non-invasive' methods
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Entity Framework goes 'code first' as Microsoft pulls visual design tool
Visual Studio database diagramming's out the window
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.