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