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Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Linaro launches 64bit ARM-based developer Cloud to go from server to node

By Nick Flaherty

IF the sign of a maturing technology is to move from a hetereogeneous development envinrnment to a homogeneous one, then the announcement today by Linaro is significant.

As a collaborative engineering organization developing open source software for the ARM architecture, Linaro's ARMv8 based Developer Cloud brings together silicon, server and software members to provide a cloud-based native ARM development environment to design, develop, port and test server, cloud and IoT applications without substantial upfront hardware investment.

The Developer Cloud is the combination of ARM based silicon vendors’ server hardware platforms, emerging cloud technologies, and many Linaro member driven projects, including server class boot architecture, kernel and virtualization. These projects have been under development since the formation of the Linaro Enterprise Group (LEG) and Linaro has already been enabling key developers via remote access to bare metal ARM servers for the last year.

Having high performance ARM servers able to service the ARM chips in IoT nodes in theory should provide a more optimised and efficient eco-system to improve performance, bring down costs and drive more innovation. 

“Linaro’s reference software platform already gives developers easy access to open source project contributions that advance highly efficient ARM technologies across a variety of markets,” said Jeff Underhill, Director of Server Programs at ARM. “The Linaro Developer Cloud builds on this with a rich new development environment supporting a range of applications but it’s particularly exciting to see the immediate value this will bring to the growing ARM-based server ecosystem.”

The Developer Cloud is based on OpenStack, using both Debian and CentOS as the underlying cloud OS infrastructure. It will use ARM based server platforms from Linaro members AMD, Cavium, Huawei and Qualcomm Technologies and will expand with demand, and as new server platforms come to market. These platforms will include both single socket and dual socket configurations as well as 10/40Gb networking, scalable storage and integrated accelerators that ARM SOC partners are bringing to market.

“Qualcomm Technologies is pleased to be supporting the Linaro Developer Cloud,” says Elsie Wahlig, principal engineer, Datacenter Group, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “As the software ecosystem for ARM servers gains momentum, the Developer Cloud presents a new vehicle for friction-less access to standards-based hardware and software to enable accelerated development by our software partners and open source community participants.”

Linaro has established two Developer Cloud facilities, one based in Cambridge, UK and the second based in Austin, Texas. Over time the Developer Cloud will expand through participating Linaro member and member partner data-centers providing cloud regions in China, North America and Europe.

“Linaro works with its members to provide reference open source software to accelerate the development of innovative applications taking advantage of ARM based platforms”, said George Grey, CEO of Linaro. “As the adoption of ARM based servers accelerates and IoT applications rapidly evolve, software developers need access to hardware and easy to use software reference platforms. The Linaro Developer Cloud is designed to broaden the availability of the latest hardware to developers globally, and to enable commercial and private cloud providers to utilize the implementation to accelerate deployment of their own offerings. Linaro will publish the end to end open source code for the implementation of the Developer Cloud”.
Access to the Developer Cloud will be provided via the web portal. Through the portal, developers can request cloud access and may report bugs and performance issues. The portal will also provide a developer forum to share development and porting knowledge, as well as best practices for ARM servers.

“AMD has been working closely with Linaro and its members to make available a complete software stack for installations like the Linaro Developer Cloud for AMD’s ARM based server processors,” said Suresh Gopalakrishnan, Corporate Vice President, Enterprise Solutions Engineering at AMD. “The Opteron A1100 processor is built with these workloads in mind. We are providing the necessary support so the Opteron A1100 is readily available in the Linaro Developer Cloud and in a range of commercially available systems.”

“Data Center customers are continuing to drive demand for ARMv8 server solutions and the requirements for optimized software and applications are growing dramatically, said Larry Wikelius, Vice President Software Ecosystem and Solutions Group at Cavium. “Cavium has partnered with OVH to deliver a Public Cloud solution based on ThunderX Cavium’s ARMv8 Workload Optimized Processor. We expect this would accelerate development of optimized software on ARMv8 servers and enhance services offered by the Cloud providers and enterprises.”

Linaro has over 200 engineers working on consolidating and optimizing open source software for the ARM architecture, including developer tools, the Linux kernel, ARM power management, and other software infrastructure. Linaro is distribution neutral: it wants to provide the best software foundations to everyone by working upstream, and to reduce non-differentiating and costly low level fragmentation. The effectiveness of the Linaro approach has been demonstrated by Linaro’s growing membership, and by Linaro consistently being listed as one of the top five company contributors, worldwide, to Linux kernels since 3.10.

To ensure commercial quality software, Linaro’s work includes comprehensive test and validation on member hardware platforms. The full scope of Linaro engineering work is open to all online at and

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