Marvells new ARM-based microserver is a look at one possible future “ a super-scalable series of low-powered ARM processors harmoniously mated with flash. Leveraging several Marvell properties, including a series of quad-core ARM processors, the new tiny approach to servers could become a big thing in the future.
Making all this possible is the Marvell Armada XP SoC. Geared toward cloud computing applications where getting lots of IOPS into a small, efficient package is key, Marvells Armada could find its way into several new enterprise storage applications. Each core runs at 1.6GHz, and sports a 800MHz DDR2/DDR3 memory controller.
The reference microserver design packs four Armada XP processors for a total of 16 cores per box. For the storage side, Marvell partnered with SanDisk to load out the design with several terabytes of ‘9174 controlled mSATA drives. Marvell claims that a 2U rack full of microservers can sustain a healthy 2.5 million IOPS, all while using only 1200 watts of power.
ARM-based servers are just now becoming a reality, and what path they’ll take is entirely uncertain. For the right applications, lots of economical ARM based storage platforms could lead the way in reducing the vast number of high-powered x86 units which currently dominate the market. Whether or not it eventually becomes a standard of sorts, there’s certainly room for something different, and it would be hard to bet against Marvell when it comes getting a new class of efficient ARM servers out in the world.