Calxeda, the company that came up with the idea of using low-power ARM chips to cut server power use, has received an additional $55m investment from Austin Ventures and Vulcan Capital, together with existing investors.
Using the ultra-low power processors, as used in mobile phones, means that data centre managers can increase the density of computer power in their facilities while also reducing the need for energy, space and cooling. The technology looks like the basis for the next generation of servers - Hewlett-Packard is developing Calxeda-based machines which will be available in volume later this year.
Through an expanding ecosystem of software partners and integrators, Calxeda is targeting large scale-out applications such as web serving, scalable analytics and cloud storage. Using the company’s technology, these applications will consume as little as 1/10th of the power and space of the best servers today, with total cost of ownership (TCO) down by 50% or more. Benchmark tests show one of Calxeda’s ARM-based EnergyCore chips 15 times more power-efficient than an Intel Xeon E3 server chip.
Founded in 2008, Calxeda has already received $48m investment from ARM and venture capital investors.
Review: ARM has been constantly improving the efficiency of its chips in recent years and the prospect of using ARM chips for servers has been on the cards for some time. It looks like Calxeda has cracked it and commercial products will shortly be available.
It does seem to be a breakthrough in low-carbon IT, with the potential to significantly reduce data centre costs, reduce emissions and delay the build of new data centre facilities. But much depends on the rate of adoption. If the TCO savings are as significant as expected then there should be a lot of interest. The problem is that if the savings are primarily in power, then it depends who gets the power bill. All too often it’s not the IT department.