Standardization and ARM Servers

This is an important week for ARM’s push into server platforms. On Tuesday AMD announced their Opteron A1100 “Seattle” ARM processor will begin sampling in March, and yesterday ARM announced availability of Server Base System Architecture (SBSA) document for ARM servers. Of the two, the SBSA announcement is the most significant because begins laying out the platform for ARM server machines that both hardware and software vendors can built to and ensure compatibility.

The SBSA document is specifically about hardware design and includes requirements on CPU features, cache architecture, MMU organization and standard peripheral interfaces like SATA and USB. Despite media reports, the SBSA does not cover firmware architecture. You can expect ARM to release a separate document specifying firmware requirements (spoiler: UEFI and ACPI will be required).

Full disclosure: I was part of the group consulted by ARM for the drafting of the SBSA

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