ARM server startup Calxeda scored $55 million in its most recent round of funding. The company has been pioneering ARM based servers, since for some workloads that parallelize well, there are real efficiency gains. Power is the largest non-labor cost in the data center and as the number of servers creeps into the hundreds of thousands for leading webscale IT companies, there’s been more openness to non x86 architecture.
In Stacey Higginbotham’s post on the recent funding she notes that software specialization will be needed for ARM server vendors to distinguish themselves since any hardware maker can license from ARM and start building a chip. Calxeda has developed its own management engine to turn off individual power domains on the chip, and it’s this type of additive software that companies will need to win a difficult war in server chips. Similar to low power server maker SeaMicro, Calxeda has also poured money into a fabric switch to take hardware off the motherboard and easily link hundreds of individual chips.
Now to getting the developer community to write programs for ARM architecture.