Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is planning to use ARM chips in the computers that run its cloud computing services. The company is teaming up Qualcomm and Cavium to bring servers based on ARM technology to Azure.
The Redmond-based software maker developed a version of its Windows operating system for servers using ARM processors.
The ARM chips are being tested by the software giant for tasks like search, storage, machine learning and big data, Bloomberg reported, citing Jason Zander, vice president of Microsoft’s Azure cloud division.
However, Microsoft has not deployed the chips in any customer-facing networks.
“It’s not deployed into production yet, but that is the next logical step,” Zander told Bloomberg in an interview. “This is a significant commitment on behalf of Microsoft. We wouldn’t even bring something to a conference if we didn’t think this was a committed project and something that’s part of our road map.”
Microsoft Develops New Cloud Server Design
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is planning to use the ARM chips as it develops a new cloud server design, called Project Olympus.
On Wednesday, at the 2017 Open Compute Project U.S. Summit, the software maker unveiled some significant announcements around its next generation hyper-scale cloud hardware design, according to a report from Anand Tech.
Project Olympus is more than just a server standard. It consists of a universal motherboard, power supplies, 1U and 2U server chassis, power distribution, and more.
Microsoft is looking to reduce the costs of their Azure expansion by creating universal platforms in collaboration with the Open Compute Project.
“We’re announcing that we are driving innovation with ARM server processors for use in our datacenters. We have been working closely with multiple ARM server suppliers, including Qualcomm and Cavium, to optimize their silicon for our use. 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 said in a blog post.
Why Microsoft Pick ARM Servers
The company said it decided to pick ARM servers due to a number of reasons.
Firstly, there is a healthy ecosystem with multiple ARM server vendors. That “ensures active development around technical capabilities such as cores and thread counts, caches, instructions, connectivity options, and accelerators,” it said.
Secondly, there is an established developer and software ecosystem for ARM. “We have seen ARM servers benefit from the high-end cell phone software stacks, and this established developer ecosystem has significantly helped Microsoft in porting its cloud software to ARM servers,” the company said in the blog post.
Lastly, Microsoft believes “ARM is well positioned for future ISA enhancements because its opcode sets are orthogonal.”
Shares of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) have gained more than 22% during the past 12 months. The stock is 4.28% for the year. During the last six months, the value of the company’s share has been increased by more than 15%.