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PayPal adopts ARM servers, gets mightily dense

Applied Micro trumpets accelerating cloud-scale adoption in solid Q4 results

Applied Micro's X-Gene server-on-a-chip

Those hoping ARM-powered servers can give Intel and AMD some stiff competition in the data centre have some good news today, after Applied Micro revealed that PayPal “has deployed and validated” the company's ARM-architected X-Gene server-on-a-chip.

Applied Micro CEO and president Paramesh Gopi said, during the company's Q4 earnings call today, that PayPal achieved “... an order of magnitude improvement in compute density” and added that the payments company “represents one of the many hyperscale data center customers that we are currently engaged with to drive X-Gene adoption.”

Gopi went on to say “we expect to share additional X-Gene success stories over the next several quarters from our customers in the scientific and HPC, financial, hyperscale and networking sectors.” The CEO also thinks Applied Micro can keep the likes of Cavium and Qualcomm at - pardon the pun – ARM's length because “Taking apart a … single architecture monopoly over many, many, many years is not trivial.”

“”I would say that anybody who starts down this ecosystem path is going to have to go through a similar road, in terms of proving out the technology versus the incumbent x86, making sure that their technology is robust, making sure that their technology is regressable over many, many years of code, making sure that all of the learning that we have learned – it's kind of, you have to pay your dues to get to where we are today, right.”

Gopi's optimism needs to be tempered a little by the company's results: consolidated net revenue for the quarter was US$37.0 million, producing a GAAP net loss of $15.1 million. For the year, the company can point to $156m of revenue and a $55m loss.

Not nice numbers, to be sure, but Gopi sees lots of upside now that he can point to PayPal and others buying X-Gene. Indeed, the company said it's now shoved 10,000 of the CPUs out the door.

Intel probably does that kind of volume between lunch and afternoon tea, among them the new Xeon-D that offers Xeon power in greater densities. Intel won't come right out and say it, but Xeon-D is designed, in part, to combat the likes of Applied Micro. Which will perhaps have some commentary on Chipzilla's new baby in its next quarterly report. ®

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