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Microsoft Altra-based Azure servers are Arm ready

by on19 May 2022

First cloud provider to manage it

Microsoft Ampere Altra-based Azure servers are now Arm SystemReady SR certified making them the first cloud solution provider (CSP) server to do so.

Arm Chief System Architect Andy Rose said that Azure VMs powered by Altra processors are the first of their kind to be certified as compliant with the SystemReady Virtual Environment standard. 

Rose said that there have been more than 50 certifications of SystemReady products since the launch of the programme.

SystemReady defines a set of firmware and hardware standards for things like servers and workstations, embedded electronics, and smartNICs, and is intended to ensure software runs without a hitch on compliant systems. If your application stack is designed for, say, the SystemReady SR set of requirements, you should be confident that it'll run on products that are certified as SystemReady SR compliant.

The validation is important because Arm has not got the server and workstation software support enjoyed by its x86 competitors.

SystemReady provides software developers, original equipment vendors, and chipmakers a baseline for system development. The SystemReady Base System Architecture provided a minimum set of hardware requirements to boot an operating system.

Arm initially offered four certification tiers. SystemReady LS targeted hyperscaler-like server hardware running Linux-based operating systems and hypervisors, while SR-certified workstations and servers can run Linux, VMware, BSD Unix, and Windows operating systems. The chip designer’s SystemReady IR and ES tiers, meanwhile, were tailored for embedded Arm systems along similar lines.

The chip designer has since expanded range to include certifications for virtual environments, and as mentioned now counts more than 50 certifications.

Arun Kishan, a corporate VP at Microsoft Azure, cited several benefits of the program for the cloud provider and its customers alike. Chief among them was consistent software support across multiple generations of Arm-based systems.
Microsoft last month announced VMs powered by Altra Arm processors from Ampere. The chip startup's Mt Jade platform is among the first SystemReady-certified SR systems.


Last modified on 19 May 2022
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