Microsoft has created a version of Windows that runs of Qualcomm’s ARM chips. Some of the reports confirms that Microsoft has a test version of Windows Server successfully running on ARM processors. Microsoft is soon said to begin using ARM-based servers in its Azure cloud, moving beyond Intel processors.
According to our sources, Microsoft has been testing its Windows Server on ARM-based servers made by Qualcomm and Cavium for a while now. They are using the machines to run search, storage, machine-learning and big data-related tasks.
Dr Leendert van Doorn, engineer for Microsoft Azure, at the 2017 Open Compute Project Summit in Santa Clara stated that:
We feel ARM servers represent a real opportunity and some Microsoft cloud services already have future deployment plans on ARM servers.
We have been running evaluations side by side with our production workloads and what we see is quite compelling.
The high Instruction Per Cycle (IPC) counts, high core and thread counts, the connectivity options and the integration that we see across the ARM ecosystem are very exciting and continues to improve.
Microsoft and QDT are collaborating with an eye to the future addressing server acceleration and memory technologies that have the potential to shape the data center of tomorrow,” said Dr. Leendert van Doorn, distinguished engineer, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Corp. “Our joint work on Windows Server for Microsoft’s internal use, and the Qualcomm Centriq 2400 Open Compute Motherboard server specification, compatible with Microsoft’s Project Olympus, is an important step toward enabling our cloud services to run on QDT-based server platforms.
This move by Microsoft must have surprised a lot of people, as Microsoft and Intel has been sharing BFF relation since decades. We can understand why Microsoft is looking beyond Intel in the Cloud. Azure is the world’s second largest cloud infrastructure, and Amazon Web Services (AWS), being the world’s largest cloud infrastructure provider, already produces ARM-based chips, so Microsoft adopting this makes sense.
However, there are no final words from the company about when these processors will be produced and deployed externally. For now, we just know that it is happening.