Qualcomm Finally Enters Server Market with Their First Socketed Processor with 24 Cores


Qualcomm has been known to be joining the server market since around 2014, when they announced that they were involved with Facebook and others in bringing ARM, or non x86, CPU's to the server space. Those dreams are edging closer to reality as Qualcomm showed-off a working prototype of a 24-core purpose-built socketed SoC this past Thursday.

Image credit: PC World


Qualcomm's newest prototype is their answer to the actual larger server market, taking on Intel and maybe even providing a solution that is an alternative to IBM's PowerPC processors. What they showed was a 64-bit 24-core custom ARM based design that's actually socketed. The final version they plan on having more than 24 cores, and an entire integrated stack of hardware and software to actually make use of what's on offer.

The prototype they showed was running a LAMP stack, which is a typical Linux web server setup consisting of Linux, an Apache web server, a MySQL database and PHP. This represents an actual workload that customers might be interested in using this type of server for.

Thus far ARM processors and their derivatives have been part of the microserver market is a very slowly growing segment of the enterprise market as a whole. It was intended to provide a higher power efficiency model for server workloads that didn't quite demand the all-out performance that could be obtained with a more power-hungry alternative.

The main issue has been in migrating the workload from x86 applications to ARM or Power. Actual power efficiency from Intel's own lower power offerings with the Broadwell based 8-core D-1540 and even Haswell-EP based E5 and E7 Xeons is adequate and attractive enough to still consider keeping the same architecture. Though a typical E7 workload might consume 1000W throughout, it's able to complete a tremendous amount of work. Though that isn't quite the end of the market they wish to enter. And if they really want to compete, getting the software right, or at least showing vendors that it can be fruitful to invest in their platform and good software optimization, could work out splendidly. This might just be the Intel x86 competitor in the server market that we've been waiting for.

Source: PC World