Server Startup Calxeda Intros Cloud, Big Data Partners For ARM-Based Servers

Calxeda, which received a strategic investment from ARM, is not yet ready to release its new power-efficient servers, said Karl Freund, vice president of marketing for the Austin, Texas-based company. Instead, it is unveiling the partner ecosystem around those servers so that the applications are ready when the servers are released.

"We don't have products yet in the market," Freund said. "But we are already finding early interest from companies that are early adopters of the cloud and who want to get into this market."

That interest stems from Calxeda's plans to produce ARM processor-based servers, each of which consumes only 5 Watts of power. Calxeda is taking a standard quad-core ARM processor, building it into a small package of components which together form a fully functioning server, and packing about 120 of them into a 2U rack enclosure. That puts 480 processor cores in a 2U space, Freund said.

"We're taking all the technology to build an ARM server, and putting it on a chip," he said. "We're producing highly-integrated parts. It's a full semiconductor. We're providing semiconductors to system vendors to build scalable servers."

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When those servers are released sometime later this year from those system vendors, who Freund declined to name, they will be ready to be used by partners in the Calxeda Trailblazer Initiative, which includes integrators and ISVs focused on cloud computing and big data.

"Big data" is data which scales to multiple petabytes of capacity and is created or collected, is stored, and is collaborative in real time.

There are two primary focuses of the Calxeda Trailblazer Initiative.

The first is Hadoop, a framework for running applications on large clusters built using commodity hardware. Hadoop works by breaking an application into multiple small fragments of work, each of which may be executed or re-executed on any node in the cluster.

It includes the Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) for reliably storing very large files across machines in a large cluster

The second is the Cassendra open source distributed database project.

Partners in the Calxeda Trailblazer Initiative include Autonomic Resources, a U.S. Government cloud provider and systems integrator; Ubuntu Linux sponsor Canonical; cloud storage developer Caringo; Couchbase, which develops a NoSQL (Not Only SQL) open source database; Cassandra and Hadoop support provider Datastax; cloud computing software developer Eucalyptus Systems; open source scalable storage software developer Gluster; "green" cloud infrastructure developer Momentum SI; cloud infrastructure automation developer Opscode; and Pervasive, which develops technology for preparing and accelerating big data.

About 90 percent of all Linux operating system instances are running on ARM processors, primarily in the mobile device market, and so the new applications will run on the Calxeda servers without the need for recompling them, Freund said.

Calxeda was founded in 2008, when it was originally known as Smooth-Stone, and in 2009 received $48 million in funding from three venture capital firms and from three rivals to processor leader Intel. They include ARM, semiconductor manufacturer Texas Instruments, and the Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC), which together with AMD set up Globalfoundries, which manufacturers processors for AMD