Being Arm enthusiasts and deeply embedded in the Arm Server ecosystem, one of the questions we get asked often is,
“Where can I buy an Arm Server?”
In the past, it was difficult to actually find Arm Server hardware available to individual end-users. Not long ago, the only way to gain access to Arm Servers was to have NDA’s with major OEM’s or having the right connections to get engineering-sample hardware. However, over the course of the past 2 to 3 years, more providers have entered the market and hardware is now readily available to end users and customers. Here are some of the easiest ways to buy an Arm Server, although this list is not exhaustive. These servers all have great performance, relatively low costs, and are well supported thanks to standards compliance and UEFI.
First and foremost, the AMD Opteron A1100 may not be a commercial success, but it is a fantastic Arm Server platform that is supported upstream and runs perfect out-of-the-box. The SoftIron OverDrive 1000 comes in a small desktop style case, but the OverDrive 3000 series comes in a 1U chassis ready for rackmount installation. It has a BMC, 10gb ethernet, 14 SATA ports (!), and 2 PCIe slots. A standard UEFI boot process allows for easy installation of CentOS, RedHat, Debian, Ubuntu, SUSE, and any other Linux flavor that has an ARM64 build. Though their Cortex A57 cores are getting a bit older now, they still make great build machines, especially when paired with fast SSD’s.
Next up is the Cavium ThunderX, and the newer ThunderX2. These chips are sold in servers from several vendors, which come in various shapes and sizes. Some of the examples we’ve found include the System76 Starling, the Avantek R-series in both 1U and 2U sizes, and the Gigabyte Arm offering that closely match Avantek’s specs. There are High Density designs, single processor and dual processor options, and 10 GBE as well as SFP options available. ThunderX2’s have been more popular in HPC environments, but even a first-generation ThunderX is a great choice, and still a very powerful machine. They can be purchased with up to 48-cores, or in dual-processor configurations then containing up to 96 cores.
Another option is the Ampere eMag Arm Server from a company that formed a few years ago, Ampere Computing. They ship a turnkey Arm Server that is sold by Lenovo, the HR330A or the HR350A. Their current-generation platform has 32 Arm cores running at 3.0ghz, 42 lanes of PCIe bandwidth, and 1 TB of memory capacity, and their next-generation product is said to have up to 80 Arm Neoverse N1 cores. Current models are available for purchase from their website, or through Lenovo.
And of course, if buying physical servers and hosting them yourself, or placing them in a datacenter, is not feasible or cost effective in your situation, then our hosted Arm servers are a great option as well! Our miniNodes Arm are certainly more modest in comparison to those mentioned above, but, they are a great way to get started with Arm development, testing existing code for compatibility, or lighter workloads that don’t require quite so much compute capability.
Be sure to check back often for all things Arm Server related!