Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Dana Gardner, Jeev Trika, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, John Basso

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, Agile Computing, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Flourishing ARM Server Market Creates Opportunity – for Software

NextGen Server Platform Create Demand for Software

"There's a new class of technologies poised to shake up the Server market - the Microserver, sometimes called the ARM Server.  But the Microserver will do more than shake up the X86 server market.  It is going to shake up the software market as well."  That's the message software and technology executive Chris Piedmonte, CEO and founder of Austin, TX-based Suvola Corporation delivered as we discussed the topic over coffee earlier this week.

As I wrote in "ARM Server Microservers Seek to Transform Cloud, Big Data", ARM Server represents an entirely new generation of highly parallel server-on-a-chip ("SoC") computing that offers compelling benefits for many enterprise-class applications.  And some analysts, including Oppenheimer's Equity Research group predict that these new ARM Servers will take a 20% bite out of that $45 Billion traditional Server market by 2016.  That's big news.

Chris' 30-year background in enterprise application software and highly scalable parallel systems gives him a unique and valuable perspective on this.   He's well- known for being the principal inventor of a revolutionary new mathematical data management technology - and from 2005 to 2012 was the cofounder and CTO of a company focused on employing massively parallel systems to implement this data processing technology.

Microserver Predictions

Chris Piedmonte

Founder/CEO of Austin, TX-based Suvola Corporation

His work in data management and Internet technologies has been granted 8 U.S. and international patents.

 

Chris' enthusiasm about the technology is evident, "I first became aware of Microservers when researching new technologies for accelerating data management systems."  He continued to tell me how he quickly realized that these systems were more than just a densely-packaged parallel processing platform.  "The technology included a high bandwidth network fabric, vastly reduced power consumption and integrated management technologies.  With the ability to package dozens and dozens of servers into a single chassis, I realized that this technology could be the next step in enterprise server technology," he continued.

Ask him about the current state of the Microserver market, and he's quite clear - it's early stage, but is going to ramp at a remarkable rate because ARM Servers are highly suitable for many mainstream enterprise computing needs.  "Microservers will begin to take hold in the enterprise starting in 2014.  These systems will be initially used as file and media servers, network infrastructure hardware such as web servers, load balancers, SSL encoders/decoders and such.  They will then begin to be used as LAMP stack [Author's note:  LAMP is a combination of free, open source software. The acronym LAMP refers to the first letters of Linux (operating system), Apache HTTP Server, MySQL (database software), and PHP, Perl or Python (programming languages) - principal components to build a viable general purpose web server] implementations for SaaS offerings and eventually for full enterprise transactional and big data systems.  Cloud providers will also embrace the technology as a means of providing Cloud services for less money due to the vastly lower power requirements and dense packaging.  If the analysts have it right, 20 percent of the enterprise server technology will be Microserver based in the next several years.

Opportunity for Software Vendors
"This platform needs enterprise software specifically designed for this platform.  The benefits that the server technology will bring to the enterprise are clear, but the current state of the industry doesn't have a large group of companies providing software ... in fact, it's difficult to find any enterprise software for the ARM-based Microserver platforms.  A large, untapped market is being created.  That's why I founded Suvola - to help speed up the adoption of this next generation technology by providing the enterprise software required to make complete solutions based on this server technology."

Mr. Piedmonte has high hopes for the ARM Server market - and some pretty big ambitions for his company - "Suvola intends to move quickly to become the leading enterprise software company delivering products for the ARM-based Microserver market.  As the market is expected to grow to over $10B in less than four years, Suvola will be there to help create it.  Suvola has been developing relationships with the key IP licensees like Applied Micro and Imagination Technologies, SoC chip providers like Calxeda and ARM, chassis companies like Boston Limited, Penguin Computing, AAEON/Asus, MBX Systems and others.  We are working with all these companies to help shape and guide the technology providers to create great platforms for enterprise software."

The Verdict
Chris tells a compelling story.  People far smarter than I am see the promise in this emerging market.  One such person is Gartner Group co-founder David Stein, who commented "the advent of Microserver systems incorporating hundreds to thousands of processors well may revolutionize enterprise computing".

Various research groups have estimated the ARM Server market to be between 10% (HIS iSuppli Research) and 20% of the Server market by 2016.  Already this year, Microservers are on target to hit 290,000 units versus 88,000 last year - a stunning 230% year-on-year growth rate.

Given their diminutive size (you can fit dozens quad-core servers into the space used by a single traditional server), their "green computing" appeal (a Calxeda ECX-1000 quad-core Server with build-in Ethernet, SATA Controllers and 80 Gigabit Interconnect Switch uses only about 5 Watts of power at full power), and promises of better reliability at a reduced total cost of ownership - I think Mr. Piedmonte's enthusiasm is warranted.

Challenges Facing the ARM Server Market
This discussion would not be complete without acknowledging some of the challenges facing the Microserver.  When I ask Chris about why Microservers aren't more prevalent, given their compelling advantages, he drives home the point that "impressive hardware isn't enough", and then elaborates on this point - "for this market to take off, we need solutions based on the technology, not just servers with operating systems and Java compatibility."

He then continues to identify what he sees as the root cause of this:  "the big software vendors aren't paying attention to this space right now - there aren't enough servers being shipped to merit the investment.  And very few ARM developers are experienced in enterprise-class computing - they're focused on platforms like tablets and cell phones, and that's an entirely different mindset."

As Dave Stein notes with respect to ARM Server software, "It remains to be seen how drastic will be the hardware and software architectural changes needed to accommodate the transition from minimal multiprocessing to massively-parallel multiprocessing, but it's a good bet they will be substantial."

It's clear that neither the traditional set of ARM developers nor the traditional X86 software developers have what it takes to exploit the massive parallel capabilities of the ARM Server platform - building and optimizing software for scalability in  massively parallel systems requires a mindset and skillset that few traditional software developers or architects in either of those camps possess.

The opportunity for software (and hardware) vendors in the Microserver market is tremendous, and the challenges are significant.  But if anyone can make this happen, it'll be folks like Chris and his team at Suvola.

 

Note: The author of this article works for Dell. The opinions stated are his own personal opinions vs. those of his employer.

More Stories By Hollis Tibbetts

Hollis Tibbetts, or @SoftwareHollis as his 50,000+ followers know him on Twitter, is listed on various “top 100 expert lists” for a variety of topics – ranging from Cloud to Technology Marketing, Hollis is by day Evangelist & Software Technology Director at Dell Software. By night and weekends he is a commentator, speaker and all-round communicator about Software, Data and Cloud in their myriad aspects. You can also reach Hollis on LinkedIn – linkedin.com/in/SoftwareHollis. His latest online venture is OnlineBackupNews - a free reference site to help organizations protect their data, applications and systems from threats. Every year IT Downtime Costs $26.5 Billion In Lost Revenue. Even with such high costs, 56% of enterprises in North America and 30% in Europe don’t have a good disaster recovery plan. Online Backup News aims to make sure you all have the news and tips needed to keep your IT Costs down and your information safe by providing best practices, technology insights, strategies, real-world examples and various tips and techniques from a variety of industry experts.

Hollis is a regularly featured blogger at ebizQ, a venue focused on enterprise technologies, with over 100,000 subscribers. He is also an author on Social Media Today "The World's Best Thinkers on Social Media", and maintains a blog focused on protecting data: Online Backup News.
He tweets actively as @SoftwareHollis

Additional information is available at HollisTibbetts.com

All opinions expressed in the author's articles are his own personal opinions vs. those of his employer.

@ThingsExpo Stories
We’ve worked with dozens of early adopters across numerous industries and will debunk common misperceptions, which starts with understanding that many of the connected products we’ll use over the next 5 years are already products, they’re just not yet connected. With an IoT product, time-in-market provides much more essential feedback than ever before. Innovation comes from what you do with the data that the connected product provides in order to enhance the customer experience and optimize busi...
A critical component of any IoT project is the back-end systems that capture data from remote IoT devices and structure it in a way to answer useful questions. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle large data sets, but they are not well suited to many IoT-scale products and the need for real-time insights. At Fuze, we have developed a backend platform as part of our mobility-oriented cloud service that uses Big Data-based approache...
The increasing popularity of the Internet of Things necessitates that our physical and cognitive relationship with wearable technology will change rapidly in the near future. This advent means logging has become a thing of the past. Before, it was on us to track our own data, but now that data is automatically available. What does this mean for mHealth and the "connected" body? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Lisa Calkins, CEO and co-founder of Amadeus Consulting, will discuss the impact of wea...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ericsson has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Ericsson is a world leader in the rapidly changing environment of communications technology – providing equipment, software and services to enable transformation through mobility. Some 40 percent of global mobile traffic runs through networks we have supplied. More than 1 billion subscribers around the world re...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus inter...
The demand for organizations to expand their infrastructure to multiple IT environments like the cloud, on-premise, mobile, bring your own device (BYOD) and the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow. As this hybrid infrastructure increases, the challenge to monitor the security of these systems increases in volume and complexity. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stephen Coty, Chief Security Evangelist at Alert Logic, will show how properly configured and managed security architecture can...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Klein, CEO and Co-founder of Rachio, will discuss next generation communities that are using IoT to create more sustainable, intelligent communities. One example is Sterling Ranch, a 10,000 home development that – with the help of Siemens – will integrate IoT technology into the community to provide residents with energy and water savings as well as intelligent security. Everything from stop lights to sprinkler systems to building infrastructures will run ef...
The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...
Artificial Intelligence has the potential to massively disrupt IoT. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, AJ Abdallat, CEO of Beyond AI, will discuss what the five main drivers are in Artificial Intelligence that could shape the future of the Internet of Things. AJ Abdallat is CEO of Beyond AI. He has over 20 years of management experience in the fields of artificial intelligence, sensors, instruments, devices and software for telecommunications, life sciences, environmental monitoring, process...
trust and privacy in their ecosystem. Assurance and protection of device identity, secure data encryption and authentication are the key security challenges organizations are trying to address when integrating IoT devices. This holds true for IoT applications in a wide range of industries, for example, healthcare, consumer devices, and manufacturing. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lancen LaChance, vice president of product management, IoT solutions at GlobalSign, will teach IoT developers how t...
There is an ever-growing explosion of new devices that are connected to the Internet using “cloud” solutions. This rapid growth is creating a massive new demand for efficient access to data. And it’s not just about connecting to that data anymore. This new demand is bringing new issues and challenges and it is important for companies to scale for the coming growth. And with that scaling comes the need for greater security, gathering and data analysis, storage, connectivity and, of course, the...
Increasing IoT connectivity is forcing enterprises to find elegant solutions to organize and visualize all incoming data from these connected devices with re-configurable dashboard widgets to effectively allow rapid decision-making for everything from immediate actions in tactical situations to strategic analysis and reporting. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Shikhir Singh, Senior Developer Relations Manager at Sencha, will discuss how to create HTML5 dashboards that interact with IoT devic...
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, will provide tips on how to be successful in large scale machine lear...
Digital payments using wearable devices such as smart watches, fitness trackers, and payment wristbands are an increasing area of focus for industry participants, and consumer acceptance from early trials and deployments has encouraged some of the biggest names in technology and banking to continue their push to drive growth in this nascent market. Wearable payment systems may utilize near field communication (NFC), radio frequency identification (RFID), or quick response (QR) codes and barcodes...
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
The IETF draft standard for M2M certificates is a security solution specifically designed for the demanding needs of IoT/M2M applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Romansky, VP of Strategic Technology at TrustPoint Innovation, will explain how M2M certificates can efficiently enable confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity on highly constrained devices.
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, will discuss how leveraging the Industrial Interne...
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
You deployed your app with the Bluemix PaaS and it's gaining some serious traction, so it's time to make some tweaks. Did you design your application in a way that it can scale in the cloud? Were you even thinking about the cloud when you built the app? If not, chances are your app is going to break. Check out this webcast to learn various techniques for designing applications that will scale successfully in Bluemix, for the confidence you need to take your apps to the next level and beyond.