Dell builds second ARM server platform

Tinman Michael Dell has announced his company is building a second low-power server platform based around ARM chips.

The company also indicated that it will donate to the Apache Software Foundation for software development and app porting.

According to Slashdot  Dell’s “Zinc” servers run on the Calxeda EnergyCore chip.

This is an ARM-based processor tailored for use in data centres running specialised workloads. Dell’s earlier effort, dubbed “Copper” was released in May. Neither is commercially available and Dell says it would bring the hardware to market at an “appropriate time”.

It looks like Michael thinks that the ARM-based server market is approaching an inflection point when it will start to make inroads into the x86 market.

While it might not want product on the shelves right now, it would be the right time to foster development and testing of operating systems and applications for ARM servers.

Forrest Norrod, vice president and general manager for Server Solutions at Dell, wrote in a statement that Dell is working hand-in-hand with the community to develop and test workloads for leading-edge hyperscale environments.

Dell recognises, he said, the market potential for ARM servers, and with its experience and understanding of the market, is enabling developers with systems and access as the ARM server market matures.

Support by Dell gives backing to Calxeda, which unveiled its roadmap to 64-bit ARM processors through 2014.

Dell’s Copper system used Marvell chips, and involved partners Canonical and Clouderag. Dell is also staging clusters of the Dell “Copper” ARM server within the Dell Solution Centres.