ARM server ships from Boston Limited

Boston's Viridis server has 192 ARM processor cores

Boston Limited on Monday said it was manufacturing and distributing a low-power server with ARM-based chips, becoming one of the few companies to make such a server commercially available.

The Viridis server has the EnergyCore chip from Calxeda, which is also being used in an experimental server from Hewlett-Packard announced late last year. HP has said it would open a lab where select customers will be able to experiment with the ARM server.

There is a growing interest in ARM servers from companies looking for an energy-efficient way to quickly process high volumes of online transactions. ARM processors are mainly found in smartphones and tablets, but analysts say a congregation of thousands of ARM servers could efficiently process fast-moving transactions such as search requests.

Dell in late May announced a prototype ARM server, but has conceded that the chip architecture is not yet ready for market due to software issues and the lack of 64-bit addressing. The server market is dominated by Intel, but analysts say ARM servers could start trickling into data centers for specific tasks starting next year.

The Boston Viridis server has up to 48 Calxeda chips -- 192 ARM cores in a 2U enclosure -- with integrated networking and storage units. Each Calxeda chip consumes as little as 5 watts per chip, U.K.-based Boston said in a statement.

The server runs the Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS OS and the Fedora v17+ Linux distributions, and also the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP software) stack. Hadoop, Openstack and Java have also been optimized for the server, Boston Limited said.

The company did not immediately provide pricing information on the server, or say whether it would be available worldwide.

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