Microsoft gets cozy with ARM once again, this time on the server side

Microsoft has developed Windows RT as a consumer operating system for ARM processor-based tablets, but now the company is taking steps that, in theory, could lead to an ARM-based version of Windows Server as well.

Computerworld reports that Microsoft has joined an industry effort to standardize the specifications of ARM-based server hardware. Other companies that are a part of this forum are Linux-based software companies line Red Hat and Canonical, PC OEMs like Dell and HP and chip makers like AMD. In fact, that company has already announced that its first server chip using an ARM design, the Opteron A1100, and will begin sampling later this quarter; AMD first announced its plans to make ARM-based chips nearly a year ago.

AMD's reference board for the ARM-based Opteron A1100 will begin sampling later this quarter.

A spokesperson for Microsoft told Computerworld, "We can confirm Microsoft participates in an industry forum driven by ARM around the Server Base System Architecture, as a part of our continuous work with industry partners to deliver solutions our customers want." However, the spokesperson stopped short of saying if Microsoft is developing an ARM-based version of Windows Server.

The use of ARM-based chips for servers could become more popular in the years to come. In theory, those processors will use less power than their x86 counterparts. It certainly stands to reason that Microsoft, which has a ton of businesses in supporting servers with software, would want to support ARM-based servers with its own operating system solution too.

Source: Computerworld | Image via AMD

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Sgt Beavis said,
The HP Moonshot just got more interesting...

That's the first thing I thought of too. I'm interested to see what, if anything is done with it in relation to Moonshot.

All I can say is that things are coming...

That said, HP recently released the m400 cart. Each cart has FOUR AMD System On a Chip CPUs that run Windows 7. A single Moonshot unit can host up to 100 physical desktops. Citrix XenDesktop acts as a connection broker.

Similar concept to blade PCs but better density and efficiency. It is all be marketed under the name "convergedsystem 100" go google it for more info..

I want to see arm motherboard like in that pic but consumer focused (atx) with sata and a pcie slot, that would be an awesome linux box.

That's certainly possible, as even the board shown above could fit into a 1U rack case ARMv8 has several rather interesting possibilities in terms of servers, and not just Opteron, either, or have we forgotten about nVidia's "Denver" (a fusion of Tegra K1 and ARMv8)? Can you say "energy-efficient render farm"?

PGHammer said,
That's certainly possible, as even the board shown above could fit into a 1U rack case ARMv8 has several rather interesting possibilities in terms of servers, and not just Opteron, either, or have we forgotten about nVidia's "Denver" (a fusion of Tegra K1 and ARMv8)? Can you say "energy-efficient render farm"?

Years too late . Dell already made one, though it wasn't for rendering, it was an ARM blade system, a few french ISPs use them for cheap and energy efficient hosting.

It was pretty obvious this is where MS was going from the beginning. Windows RT is basically a public beta test for their ARM port of Windows. That's why they are going to stick with RT despite poor sales because the code will evolve into their ARM Server product. They aren't going to move into Servers until 64bit ARM hardware is shipping though so until then RT gives them an opportunity to refine their product. Server buyers want to see that a software platform has been around and stable for a while before making a commitment to it so Windows having a history of running on ARM 32bit will help when they release the ARM 64bit version of Windows for servers.


Microsoft gets cozy with ARM once again, this time on the server side

Wait... Ya, going back to around 2011 when they were helping develop ARMv8.

In 2012, Microsoft announced testing 64bit ARM, specifically with consumer and SERVER versions of Windows 8 on the new 64bit architecture. (Sept 2012)

(There is probably even a Neowin article talking about the ARM testing Microsoft was doing.)

The only news here is that after the AMD announcement, the existence of a group pushing for server architecture standards for ARM exists, and yes Microsoft 'has been' a part of it for a WHILE.

(Notice even the Microsoft response, keyword tense: "..participates..")