Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Mark Hoover, Stefan Bernbo

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, Agile Computing, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: 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 Tibbetts, or @SoftwareHollis as his 50,000+ followers know him on Twitter, is listed on various “top 100 expert lists” for a variety of topics – ranging from Cloud to Technology Marketing, Hollis is by day Evangelist & Software Technology Director at Dell Software. By night and weekends he is a commentator, speaker and all-round communicator about Software, Data and Cloud in their myriad aspects. You can also reach Hollis on LinkedIn – linkedin.com/in/SoftwareHollis. His latest online venture is OnlineBackupNews - a free reference site to help organizations protect their data, applications and systems from threats. Every year IT Downtime Costs $26.5 Billion In Lost Revenue. Even with such high costs, 56% of enterprises in North America and 30% in Europe don’t have a good disaster recovery plan. Online Backup News aims to make sure you all have the news and tips needed to keep your IT Costs down and your information safe by providing best practices, technology insights, strategies, real-world examples and various tips and techniques from a variety of industry experts.

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.

@CloudExpo Stories
Adding public cloud resources to an existing application can be a daunting process. The tools that you currently use to manage the software and hardware outside the cloud aren’t always the best tools to efficiently grow into the cloud. All of the major configuration management tools have cloud orchestration plugins that can be leveraged, but there are also cloud-native tools that can dramatically improve the efficiency of managing your application lifecycle. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, ...
The pace of innovation, vendor lock-in, production sustainability, cost-effectiveness, and managing risk… In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Dan Choquette, Founder of RackN, discussed how CIOs are challenged finding the balance of finding the right tools, technology and operational model that serves the business the best. He also discussed how clouds, open source software and infrastructure solutions have benefits but also drawbacks and how workload and operational portability between vendors an...
With the proliferation of both SQL and NoSQL databases, organizations can now target specific fit-for-purpose database tools for their different application needs regarding scalability, ease of use, ACID support, etc. Platform as a Service offerings make this even easier now, enabling developers to roll out their own database infrastructure in minutes with minimal management overhead. However, this same amount of flexibility also comes with the challenges of picking the right tool, on the right ...
"Tintri was started in 2008 with the express purpose of building a storage appliance that is ideal for virtualized environments. We support a lot of different hypervisor platforms from VMware to OpenStack to Hyper-V," explained Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
The speed of software changes in growing and large scale rapid-paced DevOps environments presents a challenge for continuous testing. Many organizations struggle to get this right. Practices that work for small scale continuous testing may not be sufficient as the requirements grow. In his session at DevOps Summit, Marc Hornbeek, Sr. Solutions Architect of DevOps continuous test solutions at Spirent Communications, explained the best practices of continuous testing at high scale, which is rele...
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
Containers have changed the mind of IT in DevOps. They enable developers to work with dev, test, stage and production environments identically. Containers provide the right abstraction for microservices and many cloud platforms have integrated them into deployment pipelines. DevOps and Containers together help companies to achieve their business goals faster and more effectively. In his session at DevOps Summit, Ruslan Synytsky, CEO and Co-founder of Jelastic, reviewed the current landscape of D...
In his General Session at 16th Cloud Expo, David Shacochis, host of The Hybrid IT Files podcast and Vice President at CenturyLink, investigated three key trends of the “gigabit economy" though the story of a Fortune 500 communications company in transformation. Narrating how multi-modal hybrid IT, service automation, and agile delivery all intersect, he will cover the role of storytelling and empathy in achieving strategic alignment between the enterprise and its information technology.
IoT is at the core or many Digital Transformation initiatives with the goal of re-inventing a company's business model. We all agree that collecting relevant IoT data will result in massive amounts of data needing to be stored. However, with the rapid development of IoT devices and ongoing business model transformation, we are not able to predict the volume and growth of IoT data. And with the lack of IoT history, traditional methods of IT and infrastructure planning based on the past do not app...
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus o...
"We're bringing out a new application monitoring system to the DevOps space. It manages large enterprise applications that are distributed throughout a node in many enterprises and we manage them as one collective," explained Kevin Barnes, President of eCube Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, discussed the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud taking place June 6-8, 2017, at Javits Center, New York City, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long developm...
In his General Session at DevOps Summit, Asaf Yigal, Co-Founder & VP of Product at Logz.io, will explore the value of Kibana 4 for log analysis and will give a real live, hands-on tutorial on how to set up Kibana 4 and get the most out of Apache log files. He will examine three use cases: IT operations, business intelligence, and security and compliance. This is a hands-on session that will require participants to bring their own laptops, and we will provide the rest.
A look across the tech landscape at the disruptive technologies that are increasing in prominence and speculate as to which will be most impactful for communications – namely, AI and Cloud Computing. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Curtis Peterson, VP of Operations at RingCentral, will highlight the current challenges of these transformative technologies and share strategies for preparing your organization for these changes. This “view from the top” will outline the latest trends and developm...
@DevOpsSummit taking place June 6-8, 2017 at Javits Center, New York City, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York Call for Papers is now open.
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices 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 ...