People often ask about the advantages of ARM Servers compared to x86 platforms, so we thought we’d outline a few of the key advantages offered by ARM dedicated microservers. If you think we missed any, feel free to add your input to the comments section below!
ARM Advantage #1: Cost
Let’s assume you are in the market for a modest dedicated server to host your website, email, or custom services. A popular provider is HostGator, who offers an entry level server for $174 per month. It is a dual-core Intel 2.3ghz processor, has 4gb of RAM, CentOS Linux, and 2 IP Addresses. It will do the job.
However, a miniNode ARM microserver will also do the job. A dual-core 1ghz ARM processor, 1gb of RAM, and Ubuntu Linux are not quite equal, but for $14 per month you could get 2 of them, and separate the Web and Database servers… most likely achieving similar performance for a fraction of the price.
Also, as ARM continues to make inroads in the datacenter, these specs will quickly catch up to the x86 platforms.
ARM Advantage #2: Power
Let’s continue using that HostGator server as a baseline. While they don’t disclose the exact thermal specifications of that server, it would be surprising if it had anything less than a 250 to 300 watt power supply driving it. ARM servers, on the other hand, trace their ancestry to smartphones and tablets, and therefore have a strong focus on efficiency and minimal power consumption. ARM processors and platforms typically operate within a 1 to 15 watt envelope, with miniNodes drawing right around 5 watts under load. At datacenter scale, these power savings are enormous.
ARM Advantage #3: Ubiquity
ARM has shipped 50 billion chips, and the Internet of Things, wearables, and smart devices will bring about the next 50 billion in short order. Servers based on ARM designs are able to seamlessly operate, communicate, and interact with those devices. Android, Linux, and Windows RT all run on ARM.
Let’s return to the HostGator example one last time. They advertise “Apache Web Server, MySQL, PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby (on Rails), FFMpeg Support” and “IPTables Firewall” are supported on their server. miniNodes offer that same LAMP software stack, in addition to being an ideal platform for node.js, jQuery, MongoDB, Hadoop, and Python development.
Hopefully this helps clarify why ARM is such a disruptive technology in the datacenter and server ecosystem. Again, we’d love to hear your thoughts, so feel free to add your comments!