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Posts Tagged ‘fedora’

Applied Micro X-Gene (64-bit ARM) vs Intel Xeon (64-bit x86) Performance and Power Usage

October 26th, 2014 5 comments

A group of researcher at CERN have evaluated Applied Micro X-Gene 1 64-bit ARM XC-1 development board against Intel Xeon E5-2650 and Xeon Phi SE10/7120 systems, and one of them, David Abdurachmanov, presented their findings at ACAT’ 14 conference (Advanced Computing and Analysis Techniques) by listing some of the issues they had to port their software to 64-bit ARM, and performance efficiency of the three systems for data processing of High Energy Physics (HEP) experiments like those at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), where performance-per-watt is important, as computing systems may scale to several hundred thousands cores.

HEP_Test_Systems_X-Gene_Intel_Xeon
Intel Xeon Phi platform based on Many Integrated Cores (MIC) computer architecture was launched the HPC market, and contrary to the table above features 61 physical cores. Applied X-Gene 1 (40nm process) was used instead of X-Gene 2 built on 28-nm process which was not available at the time. The ARM platform ran Fedora 19, whereas the Intel processor used Scientific Linux CERN 6.5.

The researchers run the CERN’s CMSSW applications for testing. Let’s jump to the results.

AOM_X-Gene_1_vs_Intel_XeonAs expected Intel Xeon processor and Phi coprocessor both have more performance than X-Gene 1 ARM SoC.

X-Gene_Intel_Xeon_Phi_Performance_Per_WattHowever, when it comes to performance-per-watt, APM X-Gene 1 is clearly ahead of Intel Xeon E5-2650 and there’s no comparison against Xeon Phi systems.

The conclusion of the report reads as follows:

We have built the software used by the CMS experiment at CERN, as well as portions of the OSG software stack, for ARMv8 64-bit. It has been made available in the official CMS software package repository and via the CVMFS distributed file system used by Grid sites.

Our initial validation has demonstrated that APM X-Gene 1 Server-on-Chip ARMv8 64-bit solution is a relevant and potentially interesting platform for heterogeneous high-density computing. In the absence of platform specific optimizations in the ARMv8 64-bit GCC compiler used, APM X-Gene 1 shows excellent promise that the APM X-Gene hardware will be a valid competitor to Intel Xeon in term of power efficiency as the software evolves. However, Intel Xeon Phi is a completely different category of product. As APM X-Gene 2 is being sampled right now, built on the TMSC 28nm process, we look forward to extending our work to include it into our comparison.

You can read the full report “Heterogeneous High Throughput Scientific Computing with APM X-Gene and Intel Xeon Phi” for details.

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64-bit ARM Server Motherboards by SoftIron

June 20th, 2014 8 comments

We’ve already seen development board such as X-Gene XC-1, and 64-bit ARM servers have been demonstrated by Dell and HP, but SoftIron, a British startup, claims to be the first to provide a production ready ARMv8 solutions for the enterprise server market (e.g. data centers), with its SoftIron 64-0400 and 64-0800 server motherboards powered by Applied Micro X-Gene quad and octa SoC.

softiron_64-0800

Although the company did not release complete pictures of the board, they seem to have done a better job with specifications:

  • SoC
    • SoftIron 64-0400 – Applied Micro X-Gene APM883204 with 4x 64-bit ARMv8 cores @ 2.4 GHz, 4x 32-bit ARMv5 cores for Network/Security offloads and Acceleration, and 1x Cortex M3 for server management
    • SoftIron 64-0800 – Applied Micro X-Gene APM883208 with 8x 64-bit ARMv8 cores @ 2.4 GHz, 4x 32-bit ARMv5 cores for Network/Security offloads and Acceleration, and 1x Cortex M3 for server management
  • System Memory – Up to 128GB ECC DDR3L at 1600MT/s
  • Interfaces
    • 2 x USB 3.0 Superspeed hosts
    • 2 x 10/100/1000 Ethernet RJ-45, and 1 x 100/1000 Ethernet RJ-45 for Server Management (includes Virtual Serial Port)
    • 1 x 10 GbE SFP+
    • 1 x 8 Lane PCIe3.0
    • 4 x SATA 3.0 SSD ports
  • Power supply – + 12 VDC at <7A, Voltage range: 110-240 V AC, Frequency range:50-60 Hz
  • Dimensions – 244 × 244mm (Micro ATX form factor)
  • Enclosure – Rack or Pedestal

SoftIron motherboards only feature one processor socket, and will run Fedora or Ubuntu with Linux 3.x with support for hardware virtualization. I’ve actually just discovered that X-Gene SoCs had ARMv5 and Cortex M3 companion cores to assist with security and server management, actually making APM883208 a 13 cores ARM SoC. If you are interested in the security features allowed by the ARMv5, please refer to “Server Boards –Security Features” (PDF), as I won’t reproduce here the long list of cypher, hash and other security protocols supported by the systems.

SoftIron launched their server motherboards today, but I’m not sure it means it’s already available. Pricing has not been disclosed, but it’s not surprising, as it’s not something individuals will be able to put their hands on. The company will showcase the boards at the 2014 International Supercomputing Conference (ISC), in Leipzig, Germany on June 22-26, 2014. More information is available on SoftIron Products page.

Thanks to David for the tip.

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Cavium ThunderX Server SoC Features up to 48 ARM 64-bit Cores

June 4th, 2014 5 comments

ARM SBSA specification for server supports up to 268,435,456 CPU cores for the second level of standardization on one or a combination of SoCs. We’re not quite up there just yet, but Cavium ThunderX is an ARM server SoC with up to 48 cores on a single chip, which is the highest number of cores I’ve ever heard of in an ARM SoC.

Cavium Thunder X Block Diagram

Simplified Cavium ThunderX Block Diagram

The company created their own custom processor cores using an ARMv8 architecture license, designing an SoC complies with ARM’s Server Base System Architecture (SBSA) standard with the following key features:

  • ARM based SoC that scales up from 8 to 48 cores with up to 2.5 GHz core frequency with 78K I-Cache, 32K D-Cache, and 16MB L2 cache.
  • Fully cache coherent across dual sockets using Cavium Coherent Processor Interconnect (CCPI)
  • Integrated I/O capacity with 100s of Gigabits of I/O bandwidth
  • 4x DDR3/4 72-bit memory controllers supporting up to 1TB RAM @ 2400 MHz in a dual socket configuration
  • Hundreds of integrated hardware accelerators for security, storage, networking and virtualization applications.
  • Cavium virtSOC technology allowing full system virtualization for low latency from virtual machine to I/O.
  • Best in class performance per watt and performance per dollar for the target applications

ThunderX processor family is comprised of several models depending on target applications: Compute, Storage, Secure Compute, and Networking as well as server chips (CN88XX_X)with 24 to 48 cores, and low-end server chips (CN87XX_X) with 8 to 16 cores.

The server chips are available in 4 SKU families:

  • ThunderX_CP (Compute)
    • Up to 48 cores along with integrated virtSOC, dual socket coherency, multiple 10/40 GbE and high memory bandwidth.
    • Optimized for private and public cloud web servers, content delivery, web caching, search and social media workloads.
  • ThunderX_ST (Storage)

    • Up to 48 cores along with integrated virtSOC, multiple SATAv3 controllers, 10/40 GbE & PCIe Gen3 ports, high memory bandwidth, dual socket coherency, and scalable fabric for east-west as well as north-south traffic connectivity.
    • Includes hardware accelerators for data protection/ integrity/security, user to user efficient data movement (RoCE) and compressed storage.
    • Optimized for Hadoop, block & object storage, distributed file storage and hot/warm/cold storage type workloads.
  • Thunder_SC (Secure Compute)

    • Up to 48 cores along with integrated virtSOC, 10/40 GbE connectivity, multiple PCIe Gen3 ports, high memory bandwidth, dual socket coherency, and scalable fabric for east-west as well as north-south traffic connectivity.
    • Includes Cavium’s 4th generation NITROX and TurboDPI technology with acceleration for IPSec, SSL, Anti-virus, Anti-malware, firewall and DPI.
    • Optimized for Secure Web front-end, security appliances and Cloud RAN type workloads.
  • Thunder_NT (Networking)

    • Up to 48 cores along with integrated virtSOC, 10/40/100 GbE connectivity, multiple PCIe Gen3 ports, high memory bandwidth, dual socket coherency, and scalable fabric with feature rich capabilities for bandwidth provisioning , QoS, traffic Shaping and tunnel termination.
    • Hardware accelerators include high packet throughput processing, network virtualization and data monitoring.
    • Optimized for media servers, scale-out embedded applications and NFV (Network Functions Virtualization) type workloads.

The cost and power optimized ThunderX CN87xx family with 8 to 16 cores will be available in single socket configuration with two DDR3/4 controllers, multiple 10GbE, SATAv3 and PCIe Gen3 interfaces. It will be used for cold storage, distributed content delivery, dedicated hosting, distributed memory caching and embedded and control plane.

Cavium has partnered with several companies, including ODM and OEM partners such as GIGABYTE and Hewlett Packard, is part of Linaro, the Linux Foundation, OpenStack, UEFI, Xen, etc.. industry groups.  Supported operating systems include Canonical’s Ubuntu, RedHat’s Fedora,  MontaVista Linux and openSUSE.  Oracale Java, OpenJDK and GNU toolchain have been ported to the platform, as well as KVM and Xen virtualization platforms.

The company expects ThunderX processors and hardware reference platforms to be available in Q4 2014. Further details may be available on Cavium’s ThunderX page.

Via EETimes

[Update: Here’s the pic of the dual socket board (96 cores: 48 + 48) via armdevices.net. There’s also a single socket version. They all require an heatsink as shown in the bottom left corner of the pi (red/orange heatsink]

Cavium ThunderX Dual Socket Motherboard (Click to Enlarge)

Cavium ThunderX Dual Socket Motherboard (Click to Enlarge)

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Dedicated Hosting Services on ARM Development Boards (Cubieboard2, Raspberry Pi, ODROID…)

March 12th, 2014 11 comments

At least two companies have recently launched hosting services using dedicated ARM servers based on low cost development boards: NanoXion with its NX-BOX service powered by PiBox (Raspberry Pi) and CubieBox (Cubieboard 2) microservers, and miniNodes with servers based on Cubieboard2 first, then ODROID development boards, and possibly AllWinner OptimusBoard once/if it becomes available.

PiBox Dedicated Server

PiBox Dedicated Server

The PiBox will feature a Raspberry Pi Model B with 512 MB RAM, and 16GB Class 10 UHS-1 microSD card by Samsung, and the dual core Cubiebox comes with 1GB RAM and a Crucial M500 SATA III 120GB SSD. Both NX-BOXes run Linux Debian Server NX distribution, support instant remote reboot, with guaranteed 10 Mbps connectivity for IPv4 & IPv6, and unlimited bandwidth. The boards are all hosted in France.

The company expects their ARM servers to be used as private cloud servers, backup servers, private chat servers, web servers, mail servers, DNS Servers, monitoring servers, and well as some other proprietary solutions their customers may come up with.

Pricing starts at 7.19 Euros per month for the PiBox, 11.18 Euros per month for the Cubiebox, including an IPv6 address, and the service requires a commitment of one year.

miniNodes, which is US based, has just started yesterday to offer Cubieboard2 dedicated server for early adopters and enthusiasts. Cubieboard 2 features a dual core AllWinner A20 SoC @1.0 Ghz, 1 GB RAM, and 4 GB NAND that runs Ubuntu Server 13.04. There does not appear to have any external storage in their microservers at this stage, and bandwidth information is not available. The only option is currently hosting costs $19 US per month, but once they officially launch they’ll offer options to purchase clusters with up to 25 Cubieboard2 and more choices for the OS (Ubuntu or Fedora). If everything goes according to plan quad core hardkernel ODROID boards will be added to the line-up soon, and Allwinner Optimus Board powered by AllWinner A80 octa-core processor might also be considered.

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Linaro Connect Asia 2014 Opening Keynote – Status and Future of ARMv8 Linux & Android [Video]

March 3rd, 2014 No comments

Linaro Connect Asia 2014 has just started in Macau today and will take place until Friday. You can follow the sessions live and/or their recordings via Linaro OnAir YouTube Channel. I’ve watched the opening keynote, and embedded the video at the bottom of this post. The keynote focuses on ARMv8 for Linux and Android on servers, mobile devices, digital home, and more, and involves two main speakers: George Grey, Linaro CEO , and Jon Masters, Chief ARM Architecture at Red Hat.

Linaro_Connected_Asia_2014

The speaker beginning of the video provides some practical information and the schedule for Linaro Connect. The keynote itself really starts around 15:50 with George Grey who spends the first 10 minutes introducing the latest Linaro members: Qualcomm, Mediatek, ZTE, AllWinner and Comcast. He then talks about the new Mobile sub-committee (MOBSCOM) that will focus on big.LITTLE, Android optimization and Android on ARMv8, as well as the soon-to-be-announced Linaro Digital Home Group composed of AllWinner, ARM, Comcast, Fujitsu, HiSilicon, and STMicro, that will work on STB / IPTV software implementation such as secure media playback. A large part of the talk is about boot architecture (ACPI, UEFI, ARM Trusted firmware…), and the debates ACPI vs FDT (Device Tree), U-boot vs UEFI, and so on. Other subjects discussed are ARM security with the recently formed Security Working Group, Virtualization, Middleware working on Aarch64 (LAMP and OpenJDK) and Android on 64-bit. The latter will require a lot more work, and actual hardware for validation of the work done on ARMv8 fast models, and to speed up code development. Finally he quickly mentions Linaro is still working on ARMv7 architecture, and preliminary work is done for Cortex-M with Yocto/OpenEmbedded support.

At the 50 minutes mark, Jon Masters takes over to talk about 64-bit ARM servers. He stresses several key points for ARM to be successful in the server market:

  1. Upstream first (to kernel.org), as Red Hat will only use code from mainline for servers
  2. Single binary required
  3. Must follow standards (SBSA, ACPI, UEFI…)
  4. Default to open (source and communication)

He explains that compared to last year hardware is now available, talks about hyperscale computing, and mention the “up to 25% market share for ARM servers in 2019″ quote from AMD. He explains there are challenges however, and the server market is much different from the embedded world, so CENH (Cute Embedded Nonsense Hacks) are not allowed for ARM servers. Long term (10+ years) support for toolchain and kernel are needed, with backports if necessary, and Fedora/Red Hat will never ever release an OS with a device tree file and/or U-Boot.

Finally he announces a Red Hat ARM Server Developer Preview will be released later this year, compliant with SBSA, and using UEFI and ACPI, and show demo running on Applied Micro X-gene Mustang board running an early version of the developer preview which boots with UEFI, and supports ACPI.

Watch the full keynote below for details (1h30).

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Applied Micro X-Gene X-C1 ARMv8 Server Development Board is Now Available for Pre-order

February 15th, 2014 19 comments

Applied Micro X-Gene is the very first processor to use ARM 64-bit architecture (ARMv8), not Cortex A53 or Cortex A57, but a custom implementation, and last year we’ve seen the company’s ARMv8 development board running 4 Linux virtual machines via KVM. The platform, called X-Gene X-C1, can now be pre-ordered to develop private cloud, public cloud, and enterprise applications.

Applied Micro X-C1 64-Bit ARM Server Development Platform

Applied Micro X-C1 64-Bit ARM Server Development Platform

There’s limited public information for now, but I could derive specifications from a few places on the web and available pictures:

  • SoC – Applied Micro X-Gene eight core ARMv8 processor @ 2+GHz
  • System Memory – 2x DDR3 memory slots
  • Storage – 4x SATA 2/3 ports + SD card slot
  • Connectivity – 3x 10 Gb Ethernet ports
  • USB – 2x SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports, 1x mini USB port
  • Expansion – PCIe Gen 3
  • Monitoring  DB9 Serial port
  • Power – ATX

I don’t know what’s the metallic connector with holes between the two Ethernet ports connector and two USB 3.0 + Ethernet ports connector. Anybody knows? [Update: According to comments below, it could be an SPF or SPF+ slot. (enhanced small form-factor pluggable)]

Applied_Micro_X-C1

The development platform will be delivered with the following software tools and stacks:

  • Comprehensive Software Development Kit for software development and evaluation of the AppliedMicro X-Gene Family of products
  • Quick start with OS, Boot Loader and Application Development
  • Full customization and performance evaluation out of the box
  • Full source code, binaries and tool chain provided
  • Support for all the hardware features and accelerators within X-Gene
  • Server based applications like LAMP and OpenStack out of the box Documentation

To find detailed information about the server development platform (hardware and software), you’ll need to register, and wait for approval. I’ve done that and waiting. I may be able to share information if I get approved, as the terms and conditions restrict redistribution of information, at least that’s what the automatic email says…

There’s a little bit information about software support in a presentation by Jon Masters, Red Hat’s chief ARM architect, at LISA (Large Installation System Adminitration conference) 2013, at the end of November of last year. At the time, X-C1 was running Fedora 19 Remix and only supported Aarch64, not Aarch32 (32-bit ARM), with over 12,000 packages available including LAMP stack, and GlusterFS.

After registration, and manual approval, you can get more information and pre-order the development board on https://myxgene.apm.com/ which happens to be hosted on the X-C1 development board. There’s no mention of the price on Applied Micro website, but Legit Reviews checked out the board at ARM Techcon 2013, and was told it would cost $5,000 and be available in Q1 2014.

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AMD Opteron A1100 Server SoCs Feature 4 to 8 ARM Cortex A57 Cores

January 29th, 2014 9 comments

A few months ago, AMD published a roadmap showing AMD “Seattle” Server CPUs based on ARMv8 64-bit architecture were planned for H2 Q2014. The company has now announced the first series of processors that will be based on ARM Cortex A57: AMD Opteron A1100 Series, as well as the corresponding development platform at the Open Compute Project Summit in San Jose, California.

AMD_Opteron_1100Key features of AMD Opteron A1100 Series processors:

  • 4 or 8 core ARM Corte-A57 processors
  • Up to 4 MB of shared L2 and 8 MB of shared L3 cache
  • Configurable dual DDR3 or DDR4 memory channels with ECC at up to 1866 MT/second
  • Up to 4 SODIMM, UDIMM or RDIMMs
  • 8x lanes of PCI-Express Gen 3 I/O
  • 8x Serial ATA 3 ports
  • 2x 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • ARM TrustZone technology for enhanced security
  • Crypto and data compression co-processors

On the software side, the company mentionned it is a member of the Linux Foundation and Linaro, and that several operating systems vendors including Canonical, Red Hat and SUSE are committed to support ARMv8, and virtualization will be enabled through KVM and Xen. You’ll be able to program in Java via Orable OpenJDK, as well as Perl, PHP, Python and Ruby. The GNU C compiler and corresponding C Library have already been ported to the 64-bit ARM architecture.

AMD_Opteron_A1110_Development_BoardAMD will also provide an Opteron A-Series development kit in a Micro-ATX form factor with the following specifications:

  • An AMD Opteron A1100 Series processor
  • 4 Registered DIMM slots for up to 128GB of DDR3 DRAM
  • PCI Express connectors configurable as a single x8 or dual x4 ports
  • 8 Serial-ATA connectors
  • Compatibility with standard power supplies
  • Ability to be used stand-alone or mounted in standard rack-mount chassis

The AMD Opteron A-Series development platform will run a standard UEFI bootloader, and a Linux environment based on the Fedora Project Linux distribution. Other tools and software packages include the GNU (cross) toolchain, platform device drivers, a full LAMP stack with Apache web server, MySQL database engine, and PHP, as well as Java 7 and Java 8.

Anandtech reports the development board will be available in March, and actual servers should be launched in Q4 2014. They’ve also mentioned the ARM solution should cost a tenth of the price of a competing high-end Xeon box, and AMD expects ARM based processors to make up about 25% of the server market in 2019.

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