Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Greg Schulz, Brian Lavallée

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, SOA & WOA, .NET, Web 2.0, Big Data Journal, SDN Journal

Cloud Expo: Article

Flourishing ARM Server Market Creates Opportunity – for Software

NextGen Server Platform Create Demand for Software

"There's a new class of technologies poised to shake up the Server market - the Microserver, sometimes called the ARM Server.  But the Microserver will do more than shake up the X86 server market.  It is going to shake up the software market as well."  That's the message software and technology executive Chris Piedmonte, CEO and founder of Austin, TX-based Suvola Corporation delivered as we discussed the topic over coffee earlier this week.

As I wrote in "ARM Server Microservers Seek to Transform Cloud, Big Data", ARM Server represents an entirely new generation of highly parallel server-on-a-chip ("SoC") computing that offers compelling benefits for many enterprise-class applications.  And some analysts, including Oppenheimer's Equity Research group predict that these new ARM Servers will take a 20% bite out of that $45 Billion traditional Server market by 2016.  That's big news.

Chris' 30-year background in enterprise application software and highly scalable parallel systems gives him a unique and valuable perspective on this.   He's well- known for being the principal inventor of a revolutionary new mathematical data management technology - and from 2005 to 2012 was the cofounder and CTO of a company focused on employing massively parallel systems to implement this data processing technology.

Microserver Predictions

Chris Piedmonte

Founder/CEO of Austin, TX-based Suvola Corporation

His work in data management and Internet technologies has been granted 8 U.S. and international patents.

 

Chris' enthusiasm about the technology is evident, "I first became aware of Microservers when researching new technologies for accelerating data management systems."  He continued to tell me how he quickly realized that these systems were more than just a densely-packaged parallel processing platform.  "The technology included a high bandwidth network fabric, vastly reduced power consumption and integrated management technologies.  With the ability to package dozens and dozens of servers into a single chassis, I realized that this technology could be the next step in enterprise server technology," he continued.

Ask him about the current state of the Microserver market, and he's quite clear - it's early stage, but is going to ramp at a remarkable rate because ARM Servers are highly suitable for many mainstream enterprise computing needs.  "Microservers will begin to take hold in the enterprise starting in 2014.  These systems will be initially used as file and media servers, network infrastructure hardware such as web servers, load balancers, SSL encoders/decoders and such.  They will then begin to be used as LAMP stack [Author's note:  LAMP is a combination of free, open source software. The acronym LAMP refers to the first letters of Linux (operating system), Apache HTTP Server, MySQL (database software), and PHP, Perl or Python (programming languages) - principal components to build a viable general purpose web server] implementations for SaaS offerings and eventually for full enterprise transactional and big data systems.  Cloud providers will also embrace the technology as a means of providing Cloud services for less money due to the vastly lower power requirements and dense packaging.  If the analysts have it right, 20 percent of the enterprise server technology will be Microserver based in the next several years.

Opportunity for Software Vendors
"This platform needs enterprise software specifically designed for this platform.  The benefits that the server technology will bring to the enterprise are clear, but the current state of the industry doesn't have a large group of companies providing software ... in fact, it's difficult to find any enterprise software for the ARM-based Microserver platforms.  A large, untapped market is being created.  That's why I founded Suvola - to help speed up the adoption of this next generation technology by providing the enterprise software required to make complete solutions based on this server technology."

Mr. Piedmonte has high hopes for the ARM Server market - and some pretty big ambitions for his company - "Suvola intends to move quickly to become the leading enterprise software company delivering products for the ARM-based Microserver market.  As the market is expected to grow to over $10B in less than four years, Suvola will be there to help create it.  Suvola has been developing relationships with the key IP licensees like Applied Micro and Imagination Technologies, SoC chip providers like Calxeda and ARM, chassis companies like Boston Limited, Penguin Computing, AAEON/Asus, MBX Systems and others.  We are working with all these companies to help shape and guide the technology providers to create great platforms for enterprise software."

The Verdict
Chris tells a compelling story.  People far smarter than I am see the promise in this emerging market.  One such person is Gartner Group co-founder David Stein, who commented "the advent of Microserver systems incorporating hundreds to thousands of processors well may revolutionize enterprise computing".

Various research groups have estimated the ARM Server market to be between 10% (HIS iSuppli Research) and 20% of the Server market by 2016.  Already this year, Microservers are on target to hit 290,000 units versus 88,000 last year - a stunning 230% year-on-year growth rate.

Given their diminutive size (you can fit dozens quad-core servers into the space used by a single traditional server), their "green computing" appeal (a Calxeda ECX-1000 quad-core Server with build-in Ethernet, SATA Controllers and 80 Gigabit Interconnect Switch uses only about 5 Watts of power at full power), and promises of better reliability at a reduced total cost of ownership - I think Mr. Piedmonte's enthusiasm is warranted.

Challenges Facing the ARM Server Market
This discussion would not be complete without acknowledging some of the challenges facing the Microserver.  When I ask Chris about why Microservers aren't more prevalent, given their compelling advantages, he drives home the point that "impressive hardware isn't enough", and then elaborates on this point - "for this market to take off, we need solutions based on the technology, not just servers with operating systems and Java compatibility."

He then continues to identify what he sees as the root cause of this:  "the big software vendors aren't paying attention to this space right now - there aren't enough servers being shipped to merit the investment.  And very few ARM developers are experienced in enterprise-class computing - they're focused on platforms like tablets and cell phones, and that's an entirely different mindset."

As Dave Stein notes with respect to ARM Server software, "It remains to be seen how drastic will be the hardware and software architectural changes needed to accommodate the transition from minimal multiprocessing to massively-parallel multiprocessing, but it's a good bet they will be substantial."

It's clear that neither the traditional set of ARM developers nor the traditional X86 software developers have what it takes to exploit the massive parallel capabilities of the ARM Server platform - building and optimizing software for scalability in  massively parallel systems requires a mindset and skillset that few traditional software developers or architects in either of those camps possess.

The opportunity for software (and hardware) vendors in the Microserver market is tremendous, and the challenges are significant.  But if anyone can make this happen, it'll be folks like Chris and his team at Suvola.

 

Note: The author of this article works for Dell. The opinions stated are his own personal opinions vs. those of his employer.

More Stories By Hollis Tibbetts

Hollis has established himself as a successful software marketing and technology expert. His various strategy, marketing and technology articles are read nearly 50,000 times a month. He is currently a technology evangelist and director, software technology for Dell Software Group.

Hollis has developed substantial expertise in middleware, SaaS, Cloud, data management and distributed application technologies, with over 20 years experience in marketing, technical, product management, product marketing and business development roles at leading companies in such as Pervasive, Aruna (acquired by Progress Software), Sybase (now SAP), webMethods (now Software AG), M7 Corporation (acquired by BEA/Oracle), OnDisplay (acquired by Vignette) and KIVA Software (acquired by Netscape). He has established himself as an industry expert, having authored a large number of technology white papers, as well as published media articles and book contributions.

Hollis is a regularly featured blogger at ebizQ, a venue focused on enterprise technologies, with over 100,000 subscribers. He is also an author on Social Media Today "The World's Best Thinkers on Social Media", and maintains a blog focused on protecting data: Online Backup News.
He tweets actively as @SoftwareHollis

Additional information is available at HollisTibbetts.com

All opinions expressed in the author's articles are his own personal opinions vs. those of his employer.

Cloud Expo Latest Stories
Every healthy ecosystem is diverse. This is especially true in cloud ecosystems, where portability and interoperability are more important than old enterprise models of proprietary ownership. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mark Baker, Server Product Manager at Canonical/Ubuntu, will discuss how single vendors used to take the lead in creating and delivering technology, but in a cloud economy, where users want tools of their preference, when and where they need them, it makes no sense.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudian, Inc., the leading provider of hybrid cloud storage solutions, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudian is a Foster City, Calif.-based software company specializing in cloud storage. Cloudian HyperStore® is an S3-compatible cloud object storage platform that enables service providers and enterprises to build reliable, affordable and scalable hybrid cloud storage solutions. Cloudian actively partners with leading cloud computing environments including Amazon Web Services, Citrix Cloud Platform, Apache CloudStack, OpenStack and the vast ecosystem of S3 compatible tools and applications. Cloudian's customers include Vodafone, Nextel, NTT, Nifty, and LunaCloud. The company has additional offices in China and Japan.
The emergence of cloud computing and Big Data warrants a greater role for the PMO to successfully manage enterprise transformation driven by these powerful trends. As the adoption of cloud-based services continues to grow, a governance model is needed to orchestrate enterprise cloud implementations and harness the power of Big Data analytics. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mahesh Singh, President of BigData, Inc., to discuss how the Enterprise PMO takes center stage not only in developing the appropriate governance model but also in collaborating with key stakeholders to ensure a successful transformation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TechXtend (formerly Programmer’s Paradise), a leading value-added provider of server and storage virtualization, and r-evolution will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechXtend (formerly Programmer’s Paradise) is a leading value-added provider of software, systems and solutions for corporations, government organizations, and academic institutions across the United States and Canada. TechXtend is the Exclusive Reseller in the United States for r-evolution
The consumption economy is here and so are cloud applications and solutions that offer more than subscription and flat fee models and at the same time are available on a pure consumption model, which not only reduces IT spend but also lowers infrastructure costs, and offers ease of use and availability. In their session at 15th Cloud Expo, Ermanno Bonifazi, CEO & Founder of Solgenia, and Ian Khan, Global Strategic Positioning & Brand Manager at Solgenia, will discuss this shifting dynamic with an example of a top European Telco provider. Find out how they are leveraging the power of acloud-based consumption model services to offer more value to the mass market and enable a new revenue model that embraces the true meaning of the Third Industrial Revolution.
In today's application economy, enterprise organizations realize that it's their applications that are the heart and soul of their business. If their application users have a bad experience, their revenue and reputation are at stake. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Anand Akela, Senior Director of Product Marketing for Application Performance Management at CA Technologies, will discuss how a user-centric Application Performance Management solution can help inspire your users with every application transaction.
Come learn about what you need to consider when moving your data to the cloud. In her session at 15th Cloud Expo, Skyla Loomis, a Program Director of Cloudant Development at Cloudant, will discuss the security, performance, and operational implications of keeping your data on premise, moving it to the cloud, or taking a hybrid approach. She will use real customer examples to illustrate the tradeoffs, key decision points, and how to be successful with a cloud or hybrid cloud solution.
Cloud computing started a technology revolution; now DevOps is driving that revolution forward. By enabling new approaches to service delivery, cloud and DevOps together are delivering even greater speed, agility, and efficiency. No wonder leading innovators are adopting DevOps and cloud together! In his session at DevOps Summit, Andi Mann, Vice President of Strategic Solutions at CA Technologies, will explore the synergies in these two approaches, with practical tips, techniques, research data, war stories, case studies, and recommendations.
The 16th International Cloud Expo announces that its Call for Papers is now open. 16th International Cloud Expo, to be held June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
14th International Cloud Expo, held on June 10–12, 2014 at the Javits Center in New York City, featured three content-packed days with a rich array of sessions about the business and technical value of cloud computing, Internet of Things, Big Data, and DevOps led by exceptional speakers from every sector of the IT ecosystem. The Cloud Expo series is the fastest-growing Enterprise IT event in the past 10 years, devoted to every aspect of delivering massively scalable enterprise IT as a service.
Hardware will never be more valuable than on the day it hits your loading dock. Each day new servers are not deployed to production the business is losing money. While Moore’s Law is typically cited to explain the exponential density growth of chips, a critical consequence of this is rapid depreciation of servers. The hardware for clustered systems (e.g., Hadoop, OpenStack) tends to be significant capital expenses. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mason Katz, CTO and co-founder of StackIQ, to discuss how infrastructure teams should be aware of the capitalization and depreciation model of these expenses to fully understand when and where automation is critical.
Over the last few years the healthcare ecosystem has revolved around innovations in Electronic Health Record (HER) based systems. This evolution has helped us achieve much desired interoperability. Now the focus is shifting to other equally important aspects – scalability and performance. While applying cloud computing environments to the EHR systems, a special consideration needs to be given to the cloud enablement of Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA), i.e., the largest single medical system in the United States.
In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mark Hinkle, Senior Director, Open Source Solutions at Citrix Systems Inc., will provide overview of the open source software that can be used to deploy and manage a cloud computing environment. He will include information on storage, networking(e.g., OpenDaylight) and compute virtualization (Xen, KVM, LXC) and the orchestration(Apache CloudStack, OpenStack) of the three to build their own cloud services. Speaker Bio: Mark Hinkle is the Senior Director, Open Source Solutions, at Citrix Systems Inc. He joined Citrix as a result of their July 2011 acquisition of Cloud.com where he was their Vice President of Community. He is currently responsible for Citrix open source efforts around the open source cloud computing platform, Apache CloudStack and the Xen Hypervisor. Previously he was the VP of Community at Zenoss Inc., a producer of the open source application, server, and network management software, where he grew the Zenoss Core project to over 10...
Most of today’s hardware manufacturers are building servers with at least one SATA Port, but not every systems engineer utilizes them. This is considered a loss in the game of maximizing potential storage space in a fixed unit. The SATADOM Series was created by Innodisk as a high-performance, small form factor boot drive with low power consumption to be plugged into the unused SATA port on your server board as an alternative to hard drive or USB boot-up. Built for 1U systems, this powerful device is smaller than a one dollar coin, and frees up otherwise dead space on your motherboard. To meet the requirements of tomorrow’s cloud hardware, Innodisk invested internal R&D resources to develop our SATA III series of products. The SATA III SATADOM boasts 500/180MBs R/W Speeds respectively, or double R/W Speed of SATA II products.
As more applications and services move "to the cloud" (public or on-premise) cloud environments are increasingly adopting and building out traditional enterprise features. This in turn is enabling and encouraging cloud adoption from enterprise users. In many ways the definition is blurring as features like continuous operation, geo-distribution or on-demand capacity become the norm. NuoDB is involved in both building enterprise software and using enterprise cloud capabilities. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Seth Proctor, CTO at NuoDB, Inc., will discuss the experiences from building, deploying and using enterprise services and suggest some ways to approach moving enterprise applications into a cloud model.