ARMing the low-power data center


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By Joe Green and Hybrid News. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Buy a computer chip with some serious "grunt" and you go for Intel, right? Or AMD, perhaps more likely, these days. In whichever case, it's x86 architecture. That's what data centers and clouds run on, after all — these are the serious computers for grown-ups.

The little voice you hear, however hails from Cambridge, UK, a little company called ARM, recently acquired by NVIDIA for beelions of dollars. The tiny voice is telling you not only are its chip designs as performant as those power-hungry x86 chips, but they run cooler.

It's (nearly) just a case of recompiling your applications, and like magic, your cloud bill just fell by 30% overnight. Your power consumption and carbon footprint just shrank, too, and maybe your machine-learning algorithms got a boost as well.

Even Apple's in on the act, though not passing on the savings it makes by not having to buy Intel chips straight to its customers. But nevertheless, Apple now makes its own chips, and they're ARM chips (not that Apple says "ARM"; it's "Apple silicon").

With a unique licensing model, anyone can make their own ARM silicon or variant thereon; and in fact, as Chris says, the more the merrier! This is a guy who looks forward to reading his Twitter feed as delighted comments flow through his timeline.

There will soon be 200 billion ARM chips in the wild. What's the fuss about? What will it mean to your business? Joe and Chris enthuse together in this podcast.

47 episodes