After seven years, the promise of running Linux servers on ARM processors finally becomes reality.
Red Hat wants ARM servers for years, and it has already made promise to run serious Linux servers on ARM processors. After waiting for as long as 7 years, Red Hat finally turned the idea into real shipping products and it has named it as RedHat Enterprise Linux for ARM (aka RHEL for ARM).
The new product comes with a RHEL 7.4 user space including 4.11 Linux Kernel, and updated standard RHEL 7 Server RPMs plans.
Red Hat new Enterprise Linux is actually for the use with 64 bit server-optimized System on a Chip silicon. And these are specifically developed for telecom, cloud, edge, as well as high performance computing core apps.
Why do we care it so much? The answer is simple. It is found that these 64-bit ARM-powered microservers have a thermal design power (aka TDP) of 10 to 45 watts. Nevertheless, traditional x86 servers run at 90 watts, which is twice of the 64-bit ARM-powered microservers cost. The most important is that lower power consumption, lower server and datacenter operating running costs.
Now, Red Hat makes Enterprise Linux for ARM real, then, will ARM get proper place in datacenters? Of course, it will and can, because ARM servers can lower down the data center operating running costs. How to compare ARM-powered server with x86 servers in terms of performance?
There is a comparison between Intel and ARM server made by CloudFlare, which is a famous Content Deliver Network firm. An engineer of CloudFlare benchmarked an engineering-sample server which was deployed with a 2.5GHz 46 core Qualcomm Centriq System on a Chip silicon vs. a dual-socket 2.2GHz Broadwell Xeon E5-2630 v4 processor including a 3.1GHz turbo mode, as well as dual-socket 2.1GHz Xeon Silver 4116 system including a 3GHz turbo clock.
According to the engineer, he talked that his engineering sample really impressed him a lot. He also said that this is great progress make on the attempts at ARM powered servers. It is sure that Intel Skylake is much superior, while looking at the system level, its performance is very attractive. In addition, the most important wind for ARM is much lower power consumption.
In conclusion, now with the availability of RHEL for ARM OS as well as the latest ARM processors, it is an inevitable trend that ARM is going to be a serious competitor for datacenter dollar.