One of several companies that aimed to bring the ARM CPU architecture to servers, Calxeda was unable to make a go of business in the data center world, which is dominated by Intel’s x86. According to Peter Judge at DatacenterDynamics, the company’s intellectual property was purchased by Taiwanese company AtGames Digital Media, which will pursue the server market through its Silver Lining Systems subsidiary organization. “Although Calxeda failed, there is a still a growing opportunity for low-power servers in scale-out data centers, AtGames believes, and has teamed with partners including Taiwan's manufacturing giant Foxconn to offer a Calxeda-based line,” notes Judge.
The proposition behind bringing ARM to servers is that the architecture has proven its efficiency in mobile applications, where power is strictly rationed. But the workloads are also much lighter, and beefing up performance to take on Intel’s reigning Xeon line requires more than just efficiency—it requires raw computing horsepower. The likelihood is that neither ARM nor x86 is fundamentally better at computing power or efficiency, but each has been tailored to its particular application. As a result, the incumbent has an edge, thanks to existing software ecosystems and so on. Thus, the best shot for Calxeda-derived processors may be niches in the data center rather than full-fledged replacement of x86. On the other hand, Intel’s dominance means data center operators will be looking for alternative suppliers, which could give ARM a short at making some headway.
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