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Engineers from Elbrus Technologies are working on special software that would enable programs written for x86 architecture microprocessors to run on systems powered by chips with architecture from ARM Holdings. In case the emulation software proves to be efficient, it could give ARM a huge boost on the market of servers.

Many companies nowadays, including Applied Micro, Calxeda, Cavium, Marvell, Nvidia and Samsung, are developing server-class ARM-architecture processors. However, the impact that such chips can have on server market is relatively limited as they cannot run mainstream programs designed for x86 chips made by Advanced Micro Devices or Intel Corp.

The emulation software of Elbrus Technologies currently delivers 40% of native ARM performance. The company believes it could reach 80% native ARM performance or greater by the end of 2014, reports EETimes web-site. Considering the fact that ARM-based central processing units (CPUs) are generally slower than x86 chips, the emulation software is still not absolutely the best way to drive ARM processors into servers.

"Currently, we are creating a binary translator which allows us to run applications. Implementation of an optimization process will start in parallel later this year - we are expecting both parts be ready in the end of 2014. The major concern for us is lack of software developers with binary translation expertise. This is also the reason for us to estimate project release in late 2014," said Anatoly Konukhov, a member of the Elbrus Technologies team.

The development of the emulator software began in 2010. Last summer, Elbrus Tech got $1.3 million in funding from the Russian investment fund Skolkovo and MCST, a veteran Russian processor and software developer.

Tags: ARM, x86, Elbrus, Xeon, Opteron, Intel, AMD, Applied Micro, Calxeda, Cavium, Marvell, Nvidia, Samsung

Discussion

Comments currently: 8
Discussion started: 10/02/12 11:55:53 PM
Latest comment: 10/04/12 05:31:59 PM
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1. 
Considering the fact that ARM-based central processing units (CPUs) are generally slower than x86 chips, the emulation software is still not absolutely the best way to drive ARM processors into servers.


They can put together too many ARM cores instead of 4/6/8/12 CPU cores and get good performance at admirable TDP
2 1 [Posted by: jijibu  | Date: 10/02/12 11:55:53 PM]
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But, as of now. 4 ARM cores < 4 x86 cores performance wise. x86 is getting there with TDP, but ARM does take the cake tdp wise, but at the sacrifice of performance, which is what many physical data centers in general are striving for.
2 0 [Posted by: veli05  | Date: 10/03/12 12:31:38 PM]
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I assume this will be used to ease the transition to ARM, with the expectation that more native software will be developed once adoption picks up the pace.
0 0 [Posted by: sanity  | Date: 10/03/12 06:31:44 PM]
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2. 
"However, the impact that such chips can have on server market is relatively limited as they cannot run mainstream programs designed for x86 chips made by Advanced Micro Devices or Intel Corp."

It is true to desktops but has nothing to do with servers. A lot of servers run Linux which is already fine with ARM. Other than that most servers run a handful of specific software for certain services. In case ARM starts spreading those applications (and Windows server editions as well) will transition in no time.
0 0 [Posted by: Martian  | Date: 10/03/12 08:00:13 PM]
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3. 
If the task is picking up trash scattered on the field, then 100 men will probably finish the task quicker than one bull-dozer. But if the task is to move a big rock, then 100 men probably duck behind the bulldozer.
1 1 [Posted by: Tukee44  | Date: 10/03/12 08:18:41 PM]
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4. 
Wow, I'm shocked that Elbrus and MCST are still around after their last round of....um.... "breakthroughs".

For those who don't have long memories, Elbrus made a big splash in 2000 when they announced that their E2000 VLIW processor would be out at 1.2 GHz in ~2002, with several times the performance and much lower power consumption than then-current high performance processors such as Alpha EV68. They finally shipped a 300 MHz part in 2005, with rather noncompetitive performance.

What's Russian for "VC scam"?
0 0 [Posted by: patrickjchase  | Date: 10/04/12 05:31:59 PM]
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