Microsoft could be about to help ARM’s push into the server market
Microsoft is working on a version of Windows Server designed for ARM-based systems, but has yet to decide whether to make the operating system commercially available, according to a report by Bloomberg.
Currently, Windows Server only supports Intel’s x86 processors but any ARM compatible operating system could allow the British chip designer to erode Intel’s dominance in the server market.
Windows Server for ARM
ARM’s chips designs are licensed to a number of manufacturers, such as Qualcomm and MediaTek, who then produce processors using the technology. ARM designs currently account for 98 percent of the mobile market, but there have been moves to use the chips in more powerful machines.
The Cambridge-based firm believes its architecture can challenge Intel in servers with the growth of hyperscale and web 2.0 data centre environments, which increasingly value energy efficiency and cost effectiveness over raw performance. ARM has released a number of designs and has enlisted the support of AMD and Applied Micro to create server chips.
A number of server manufacturers, including HP and Dell, have signalled their intentions to create servers powered by ARM based chips, but current offerings have been let down by a lack of functionality and compatible software. An ARM specific-version of Windows Server would go some way to address a number of these issues.
However, Microsoft’s last flirtation with ARM didn’t go so well. Windows RT, a special version of Windows 8, failed to catch on with consumers thanks to confusing marketing and a lack of compatible software.
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