Amazon EC2 A1 Arm Instances Deliver up to 45% Cost Savings over x86 Instances

SmugMug-Costs Savings Arm EC2 Instance

Just a couple of days ago, Amazon introduced EC2 A1 Arm instances based on custom-designed AWS Graviton processors featuring up to 32 Arm Neoverse cores. Commenters started a discussion about price and the real usefulness of Arm cores compared to x86 cores since the latter are likely to be better optimized, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) pricing for EC2 A1 instances did not seem that attractive to some. The question whether it makes sense will obviously depend on the workload, and metrics like performance per dollar, and performance per watt. AWS re:Invent 2018 is taking place now, and we are starting to get some answers with Amazon claiming up to 45% reduction in costs. It sounds good, except there’s not much information about the type of workload here. So it would be good if there was an example of company leveraging this type of savings with their actual products or services. It turns SmugMug photo sharing website has migrated to …

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Amazon Launches 64-bit Arm Server “A1” Instances

Amazon EC2 A1 Arm Servers

Amazon has developed AWS Graviton processors optimized for cloud applications and delivering power, performance, and cost optimizations over their Intel counterpart. The processors feature 64-bit Arm Neoverse cores and custom silicon designed by AWS themselves, and can be found today in Amazon EC2 A1 instances. The screenshot above shows Amazon Linux 2, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.6, Ubuntu 18.04 Server, and Ubuntu 16.04 Server machine images having options for either 64-bit x86 or 64-bit Arm servers. Amazon Arm server instance are particularly suitable for applications such as web servers, containerized microservices, caching fleets, distributed data stores, as well as development environments. Amazon further explains: A1 instances are built on the AWS Nitro System, a combination of dedicated hardware and lightweight hypervisor, which maximizes resource efficiency for customers while still supporting familiar AWS and Amazon EC2 instance capabilities such as EBS, Networking, and AMIs. Amazon Linux 2, Red Hat Enterpise Linux (RHEL), Ubuntu and ECS optimized AMIs are available today for …

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HiSilicon Hi1620 Server SoC to Features up to 64 Arm “Ares” Cores

Huawei Hi1620

A few years ago we covered Hisilicon D02 server board powered by the company’s Hip05 SoC with 16 or 32 Arm Cortex A57 cores. I had not seen any updates since then myself, but HiSilicon has released new “TaiShan” Arm based server SoCs every year, and recently unveiled Hi1620, the world’s first 7nm datacenter Arm processor, featuring 24 to 64 Arm “Ares” cores clocked at up to 3.0 GHz. Ares cores are supposed to greatly improve single thread performance in order to compete with x86 server chips. HiSilicon Hi1620 processors specifications: CPU – 24 to 64 Ares ARMv8.2 cores clocked at 2.4 – 3.0 GHz Cache – L1: 64KB I-cache, 64KB D-cache; L2: 512KB private per core, L3: 24-64 shared among cores (1MB/core) Memory – 8x DDR4 channels up to 3200 MHz Interconnect – Coherent SMP interface for 2S & 4S, 3 ports up to 240 Gbit/s per port I/Os 40x PCIe Gen 4.0 lanes 2x 100 GbE, RoCEv2/RoCEv1, CCIX …

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Arm ServerReady is a Compliance Program for Arm-based Servers

Arm ServerReady

The Server Base System Architecture (SBSA) specification was unveiled in 2014 in order to standardize all Arm based servers and let them all run the same operating system images. However so far, manufacturers would just test specification requirements by themselves without having their claims fully tested and certificated. That’s why Arm has just unveiled the Arm ServerReady certification program for Arm based servers which relies on the Architecture Compliance Suite (ACS) for SBSA and SBBR (Server Base Boot Requirements) verification. Basically the servers must be able to boot standard operating systems and run the ACS. The servers that pass the ACS are then granted the Arm ServerReady certificate. The current Arm ServerReady version 1.0 certification utilizes ACS version 1.6 for  testing SBSA version 3.1 and SBBR version 1.0 compliance. Ampere, HXT, Marvell, Qualcomm, as well as ODMs such as Femrice, Gigabyte and UIT have already received Arm ServerReady version 1.0 certificates for some of their servers. It would be good …

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VMWare Showcases ESXi Bare Metal Hypervisor Support for ARM64 Edge Servers


As I checked my Twitter timeline in Thunderbird this morning, I started to see a lot of tweets about #VMworld2018 and “ESXi on 64-bit Arm”. What is that? VMWare has just announced and showcased several technology innovations at VMworld 2018, including Virtualization on 64-bit ARM for Edge, and the company demonstrated ESXi on 64-bit ARM running on a windmill farm at the Edge. It may be useful to readers (and this writer) to look up what ESXi is and does exactly. As explained on VMWare website: VMware ESXi is a purpose-built bare-metal hypervisor that installs directly onto a physical server. With direct access to and control of underlying resources, ESXi is more efficient than hosted architectures and can effectively partition hardware to increase consolidation ratios and cut costs for our customers. So basically it’s an hypervisor that stays a close as possible to the hardware to keep performance optimal, and the ARM64 implementation also avoids dynamic recompilation such as  Transitive/OS …

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MicroWebSrv Lightweight HTTP Web Server Supports HTML/Python Language Templating

There are many languages that can be used to create a web page: HTML,  HTML5, JavaScript, PHP, etc… But Python? Apparently yes, as MicroWebSrv  lightweight web server – mostly designed for ESP32 platforms running MicroPython such as Pycom boards – supports inserting Python code inside “HTML” files with the extension .pyhtml. The code can be found in Github, and is only comprised of three files. – The Web server – The optional support of WebSockets – The optional templating language for .pyhtml rendered pages Beside HTML/Python files, the web server can handle GET, POST, … requests, an embedded full REST API, routing handlers, WebSockets, etc… That’s what a mixed HTML + Python .pyhtml file may look like: You can use double curly braces {{ and }} to insert MicroPython code, if statements, for loops, or includes. I’m not sure if this makes really sense for all platforms, but if your board is resource limited, and already runs …

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Optimizing JPEG Transformations on Qualcomm Centriq Arm Servers with NEON Instructions

Arm servers are already deployed in some datacenters, but they are pretty new compared to their Intel counterparts, so at this stage software may not always be optimized as well on Arm as on Intel. Vlad Krasnow working for Cloudflare found  one of those unoptimized cases when testing out Jpegtran – a utility performing lossless transformation of JPEG files – on one of their Xeon Silver 4116 Server: and comparing it to one based on Qualcomm Centriq 2400 Arm SoC: Nearly four times slower on a single core. Not so good, as the company aims for at least 50% of the performance since the Arm processor has double the number of cores. Vlad did some optimization on The Intel processor using SSE instructions before, so he decided to look into optimization the Arm code with NEON instructions instead. First step was to check which functions may slowdown the process the most using perf: encode_mcu_AC_refine and encode_mcu_AC_first are the main culprits. …

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Advantech and SocioNext Collaborate for 8K 60Hz Real-Time HEVC Video Encoding, Streaming, and Decoding Solutions

The first live event to be broadcasted in 8K resolution should be the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020, but but broadcasters will use large and expensive infrastructure equipment to achieve this feat. However, the cost of this solution will be prohibitive for most other situations, so Advantech and SocioNext have collaborated to provide more affordable solutions for live 8Kp60 HEVC video encoding and decoding. One of those solution is Advantech VEGA-3304 that is said to be the first 8Kp60 HEVC acquisition encoder, and comes with 16 x SDI-3G inputs Key features: 1-ch 8Kp60, 4-ch 4Kp60 or 16-ch 1080Kp60 HEVC real-time encoding in Main 8, Main 10 4:2:2 modes Video acquisition over built-in 16-ch 3G-SDI inputs HDR support Double width, ¾ length PCI Express x16, compatible with server GPU slots The PCIe card supports Linux and Windows, and simple-to-use API and example code for FFmpeg and GStreamer multimedia are provided. It can be plugged into VEGA-7010 1U Video Server which provides multiple …

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