Blog July 13, 2020
Arm-powered Data Centers Optimized for Cost and Efficiency
Greater design freedom and new opportunities for system optimization are reducing total cost of ownership for Arm-powered datacenters
By Mohamed Awad, SVP and GM of the Infrastructure Business, Arm
A new infrastructure is emerging to disrupt decades
of homogenous, one-size-fits-all compute in the datacenter, and its compute
requirements can be captured in one word: “Optimization.”
At all levels of the data center, from the
warehouse to the system-on-chip (SoC), purpose-built designs are being tuned
for specific functions. Designers are optimizing and differentiating systems
around metrics like peak performance, lowest possible power
consumption, or massive scalability. They’re doing this by leveraging IP platforms,
such as Arm Neoverse, and silicon solutions from a global ecosystem that enable
a new technology meritocracy: Let the best design for a given problem win.
This movement toward design freedom and system
optimization has led to higher compute utilization, improved performance-power
ratios, and the ability to get more out of a physical datacenter; put simply, better
total cost of ownership (TCO).
For example, AWS Graviton2
instances, using the Arm Neoverse N1 platform, deliver up
to 40 percent better price-performance over the previous x86-based instances at
a 20 percent lower price. Silicon solutions such as Ampere’s Altra (the
industry’s first 80-core server
processor based on the Arm Neoverse N1 platform) and Marvell’s ThunderX3 (featuring up to
96 custom Arm v8.3 cores) are designed to deliver the performance-per-watt,
flexibility, and scalability their customers demand to win in their application
These are just three examples of companies embracing the new democratization of design, but don’t just take my word for it.
Forrester total economic impact report
A new Forrester
total economic impact report details how this design freedom is leading to new,
compelling TCO models. Analysts set out to examine how Arm Neoverse solutions
could benefit organizations in four distinct use cases—electronic design
automation (EDA), cloud gaming, cloud photo storage and virtualization.
What they found was staggering. The
interviews and survey data revealed that key results from the Neoverse
- Significantly reduced cloud
infrastructure costs. Cloud-optimized processors
based on the Arm architecture have a smaller footprint. This enables a higher
density of cores per server and so reducing the number of servers that need to
be acquired and installed. Furthermore, the hardware acquisition cost of
servers based on Arm architecture is nearly 20 percent lower.
- Reduced on-premise
infrastructure costs. Upfront and ongoing
infrastructure costs can be brought down by as much as 33 percent per core,
which has a positive trickle-down effect on the cost of cloud-based offerings.
- Developer productivity improvement when building Arm-based applications. Working in an Arm-based environment to develop Arm-based applications eliminates the need for emulation and cross-compilation, frees up developer time by simplifying the development flow, and lowers overall cost. Developing apps and games for platforms, such as mobile phones, is more efficient when done on Arm servers
- Supply-side benefits. The breadth and depth of the Arm ecosystem brings suppliers
together to deliver a diverse set of comprehensive solutions that enables users
to better tailor their system designs for specific workloads.
Relative to legacy processor architectures,
the Arm architecture enables CPU designers to offer a much better
performance-per-watt. Coupled with the freedom of design, architects can pack
more cores per SoC, server, rack, or warehouse. They can do so without paying
the power or performance penalty that accompanies legacy architectures that underpin
today’s generic off-the-shelf products.
Additionally, by licensing IP and not just
selling pre-packaged, one-size-fits-all CPUs, Arm enables its ecosystem to
incorporate their own accelerator functions, optimizations, and differentiation
which further boosts performance-per-watt. Arm partners can customize their
systems, solutions and SoCs for workloads in ways that are just not possible
with legacy, generic SoCs.
Everything from new, more powerful social media and enterprise software systems to the highest performing supercomputers used for solving our greatest scientific challenges will require a level of diversity, scalability and performance that can only be realized by separating from the past and embracing the future.
The new infrastructure is being built with a focus on flexibility—with silicon vendors optimizing solutions for specific workloads—and technological meritocracy. This environment will empower designers to deliver new, purpose-built solutions, from edge to cloud, that will help transform the world around us.
Get the Forrester TEI report
Download the Forrester TEI report to get economic impact insights and real-world benefit examples. For more information on Arm Neoverse, click here.
Any re-use permitted for informational and non-commercial or personal use only.
Brian Fuller and Jack Melling