Qualcomm's first official attempt to target the server market is a pre-production version of 24-core SoC based on the ARMv8-A instruction set and using advanced FinFet technology. This is the heart of a Server Development Platform (SDP) Qualcomm's is sampling to tier-one data centers.The company confirmed that the first commericial server SoC to ship will have more cores.
The company has demonstrated a 24 Core Xilinx FPGA-based card for dynamic workload acceleration. Qualcomm is partnering with Xilinx to deliver heterogeneous computing solutions for data centers with Qualcomm’s server processor and Xilinx FPGAs.
Xilinx fiscal revenue for the fiscal 2015 was $2.38 billion. This is a company with 20,000 customers worldwide, and with some 55 per cent market share in this space. They will target the next generation of cloud computing with Big Data solutions, Video, Machine learning, NFV/CloudRAN, Low Latency and Low power gear.
Qualcomm will provide the custom ARM core with a multi-core CPU while the Xilinx will run Qualcomm solutions in programmable hardware accelerators. The company claims that they can gain as much as 10 to 50 times performance per watt in Data base (Key Value Store), Image processing (Image resizing) or Deep Learning (Convolutional Neural Networks).
Another partner is an outfit called Mellanox. It will enable advanced, cost-effective platforms for servers and storage that deliver the fastest, most efficient interconnect solutions for data transfer and analysis. This is a mix of Qualcomm’s server CPU and Mellanox’s Ethernet and InfiniBand interconnect. Mellanox enables intelligent interconnect in network computing with 10,25, 40, 50 and 100 Gb/s speeds while Qualcomm is responsible for intelligent processing with multi core processors based on a custom ARM solution. This should be the most power efficient way to process the data.
Two companies target many markets including Storage, Web 2.0, Internet of Things, Financial, Database, Big Data, Enterprise data center and healthcare markets.
Anand Chandrasekher, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Datacenter Group, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc said
“The release of our evaluation system is a major milestone for Qualcomm Technologies. As data centers evolve to support the exponential growth and innovation in data, connectivity and cloud services, Qualcomm Technologies is creating an ecosystem to meet the needs of these next-generation data centers with Qualcomm-based server technologies. Our customers are eager to test and evaluate our Server Development Platform and begin porting their software. We are incorporating their feedback into our product offering with the goal of ensuring system and software readiness by the time we are in full production.”
Two years ago, Anand Chandrasekher made his name saying that Apple's 64-bit A7 processor was a "marketing gimmick." He was completely right. Most things that Apple does are marketing gimmicks including being late to 4K video, decent cameras and screen sizes.
At the time Chandrasekher's team in the Datacenter Group was building what it thought would be the best possible server solution on the market. The Server Development Platform (SDP) will result in products at later data that will have more than 24 custom based ARM V8 cores. The first Server Development Platform (SDP) runs Linux.