EC Funds Green Cloud Services Project Investigating Use of ARM Architecture in Data Centers

ARM and Research Partners will utilize leading-edge processor and 3D packaging technology to reduce data center carbon footprint

CAMBRIDGE, UK — June 23, 2010 — ARM today announced it is leading a Green Cloud Services project called EuroCloud, along with Nokia, IMEC, EPFL, and the University of Cyprus. The research project, which is funded by the European Commission FP7 Programme for an initial three years, aims to validate the value proposition of constructing data center platforms using a combination of low power processing and 3D chip packaging solutions to deliver a significant improvement in cost- and energy-efficiency compared to the approach utilized in incumbent server platforms.

Use of conventional microprocessors and memory systems provide significant power, cooling and density challenges for CIOs building out data centers to support Web 2.0 applications. The companies engaged in this program believe that the key to scaling system performance in a cost- and energy-efficient manner requires research and innovation focused on the predicted workloads for the data center of the future, rather than using the approach that has been applied historically to the enterprise server arena.

This research project will investigate the use of the ARM®  Cortex™-A9 MPCore™ multicore processor along with 3D DRAM structures and packaging technology to enable the building of dense, cost-effective and green data centers through “good enough” nodes of processor performance and high-bandwidth access to server memory.

“We need breakthroughs in energy-efficient multicore computing. EuroCloud is an exciting research project that brings leading European low-power technologies from embedded computing to general-purpose computing,” said Dr. Panagiotis Tsarchopoulos, who is the project officer in the European Commission.

“The ARM design philosophy has focused on optimizing energy efficiency to enable mobile platforms for 20 years,” said Dr Krisztian Flautner, VP research of ARM. “The performance levels and new functionality supported in our latest processors have reached the level where it is appropriate to see how ARM technology can be applied to solve the massive energy challenges that exist in wireline equipment, including data centers.”

“Imagine if we wanted one processor per thousand users. This would mean a data center with 300,000 processors for 300 million in 2012,” said Dr Mika Kuulusa, research manager, Nokia. “We probably have the best expertise in low-power gadgets in the industry. Now, we want to explore how to provide truly greener Ovi services for our customers.”

“We believe the 3D packaging technology developed at our labs will help redefine the tradeoff between power consumption and performance,” said Nikolas Minas of IMEC. "3D technology is revolutionizing the design of compute systems, and may lead to significantly lower power consumption for data centers. Our contribution to the project is the PathFind technology specs for green servers, and to support the partners in the project in designing innovative processor chips."

“Server workloads are primarily memory-bound and typically benefit little from complex computational capabilities. Embedded-like processors with 3D DRAM are the most effective approach to executing these workloads in energy-constrained environments. It is finally time to put the embedded system into data centers to enable energy scalability,” said Professor Babak Falsafi, the Director of Parallel Systems Architecture Lab at EPFL.

“With scaling in semiconductors and 3D stacking technology, future server machines will be more prone to faults and errors. Thus, reliability will be as an important factor in designing future servers as performance and power,” said Professor Yiannakis Sazeides of University of Cyprus.

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About ARM

ARM designs the technology that lies at the heart of advanced digital products, from wireless, networking and consumer entertainment solutions to imaging, automotive, security and storage devices. ARM’s comprehensive product offering includes 32-bit RISC microprocessors, graphics processors, video engines, enabling software, cell libraries, embedded memories, high-speed connectivity products, peripherals and development tools. Combined with comprehensive design services, training, support and maintenance, and the company’s broad Partner community, they provide a total system solution that offers a fast, reliable path to market for leading electronics companies. Find out more about ARM by following these links:


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