At the Open Compute Project’s summit in Santa Clara, California, today, Microsoft will demonstrate its Windows Server data center virtualization software running on servers that use ARM-based chips. Qualcomm and Cavium will also be showing off Windows Server running on their ARM-based servers, rather than servers packed with conventional Intel x86 chips.
“We have been running evaluations side by side with our production workloads and what we see is quite compelling. The high Instruction Per Cycle (IPC) counts, high core and thread counts, the connectivity options and the integration that we see across the ARM ecosystem is very exciting and continue to improve,” Microsoft distinguished engineer Leendert van Doorn wrote in a blog post.
Van Doorn pointed to ARM’s growth in the mobile device market, where Microsoft’s Windows Phone has lost market share. But that’s not the only justification for this effort.
“There is a healthy ecosystem with multiple ARM server vendors which ensures active development around technical capabilities such as cores and thread counts, caches, instructions, connectivity options, and accelerators,” he wrote.
The announcement comes a few years after reports indicated that Microsoft was testing Windows Server on ARM-based servers.
Now Microsoft is also testing workloads including search and machine learning on ARM-based chips, Microsoft Azure vice president Jason Zander told Bloomberg today.
Meanwhile, Microsoft has also embraced field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and graphics processing units (GPUs) in its Azure public cloud.