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Microsoft Takes on The Niche of ARM Servers

The ARM architecture was originally developed by ARM Holdings in 1985. Available in 32- and 64-bit renditions, ARM processors are typically more affordable and energy efficient than comparable hardware. While Microsoft has gone back-and-forth regarding their commitment to the technology, it seems they've finally decided to support the system once for all. Considering both Intel's and ARM's dominance in their own respective fields, the match only seems natural.

ARM Holding's Role

While ARM Holding is the driving force behind the initial design of the ARM architecture, the company does not manufacture or produce any products of any kind. Instead, ARM processors are licensed out to third-parties for use in laptops, tablets, smartphones, notepads and other, primarily mobile, systems. With this in mind, it's easy to see why Microsoft has embraced the ARM architecture.

Lakshmi Mandyam, director of server systems and ecosystems with ARM Holdings, was quoted in a recent interview as saying: "One of the balancing acts you have to play is around standardization versus innovation and choice." She continued by saying: "It's also important from a deployment perspective, because end users who deploy hundreds or thousands of ARM servers need to be able to apply new patch sets and software upgrades - all that stuff has to be simple, unified and manageable."

Microsoft's Role

Microsoft has been participating in the development of ARM server standardization since early 2014. It was until several months later that they announced the development of Windows Server for ARM-based systems. Despite the late announcement, Microsoft has already confirmed that they indeed have a test version of their latest Windows Server software successfully running on ARM architecture.

As a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed to GeekWire in a recent interview, the ARM architecture is expected to see use in the up and coming Windows 10. According to the spokesperson: "ARM devices will continue to be a crucial part of the range of devices Windows 10 supports, with an optimized experience for ARM-based phones, phablets and small tablets up to 8 inches."

Other Applications of ARM

Microsoft isn't the first of the industry giants to try and take on the niche of ARM servers. Hewlett-Packard Co. tried their hand in 2011, but the technology lacked the sophistication needed for modern computing. Microsoft has even toyed with the ARM architecture on a few occasions, but their efforts also came up short with consumers of the day.

In Conclusion

Since ARM servers are typically focused toward highly advanced and industry-specific tasks, it's unlikely that the technology will replace the traditional, x86-based servers that are in place today. Despite this fact, it's still crucial that software developers maintain consistency between both systems when writing future applications.

For more information regarding ARM Holdings or the ARM architecture, interested parties should visit their website at www.arm.com. Available in multiple languages in order to accommodate as many different users and regions as possible, the website contains company and technology history, details on products that use ARM, markets where ARM is available, information regarding careers and much more.

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