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Former Intel President Launches ARM Company Ampere

By Sean Michael Kerner (Send Email)
Posted February 5, 2018

Intel's x86 silicon architecture has been a dominating force in data center and enterprise servers for a long time, but now a former Intel president wants that to change.

On Feb. 5, former Intel president Renee James officially launched her new venture called Ampere. The new company utilizes ARM server processors to enable a new generation of server architectures for hyperscale cloud computing. James worked at Intel from 1998 until February 2016.Ampere

"We have an opportunity with cloud computing to take a fresh approach with products that are built to address the new software ecosystem," James stated. "The workloads moving to the cloud require more memory, and at the same time, customers have stringent requirements for power, size and costs."

At the Core of Ampere's Server Approach

The core of Ampere's server approach is the ARM v8 64-bit chip architecture, which the company will use in its cloud servers. The Ampere cloud servers will run at a clock speed of up to 3 GHz and will include the usual slate of I/O connectivity, including PCIE v3 and SATA v3 based storage options.

From a security perspective, Ampere is using ARM Trusted Firmware, which provides attestation capabilities for firmware authenticity. The core operating system being made available on the Ampere systems at launch is the open-source community CentOS Linux operating system.

"The software that runs the cloud enables Ampere to design with a different point of view," James stated. "The Ampere team’s approach and architecture meets the expectation on performance and power, and gives customers the freedom to accelerate the delivery of the most memory-intensive applications and workloads such as AI, big data, storage and database in their next-generation data centers."

Momentum Building for ARM-Based SoCs

Ampere is not the first vendor to take direct aim at Intel's data center and cloud dominance in recent months. In November 2017, Qualcomm announced its Centriq 2400 ARM silicon.

"Momentum is building for Arm-based SoCs as an alternative to the insufficient scalability of legacy processors," Drew Henry, senior vice president and general manager, Infrastructure Business Unit at ARM, stated. "Ampere understands this and combines its deep server expertise with a disruptive approach to hyperscale cloud compute."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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