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Monday, November 08, 2010

Marvell takes ARM into the enterprise cloud with quad core chip

By Nick Flaherty

While attention has been focussed on startup SmoothStone for enterprise computing on the ARM chip platform, Marvell has done its usual job of working away quietly and then coming up with a key device.
It has launched a quad-core processing, enterprise-class cloud computing platform based on its own spin of the the ARM architecture. At 1.6GHz  the ARMADA XP is the fastest ARM processor available on the market today for enterprise class applications and integrates four Marvell designed ARM compliant 1.6GHz CPU cores along with a range of I/O peripherals and is aiming at delivering the best performance per watt to empower emerging cloud computing applications ranging from high performance networking and web servers to high volume home server products like Network Attached Storage (NAS) and media servers.
Using ARM for the cloud is a smart move as the low power tackles on e of the key problems of the datacentre - heat dissipation. But it also avoids the problem of operating system - the cloud doesn't really care as long as it can run the application, and many of these are Linux-based.
"Marvell's introduction of a powerful solution for enterprise-class cloud computing applications is a very important milestone in the mobile Internet revolution—cloud computing mobile servers like those powered by the ARMADA XP are the key link in what I envision to be a seamless, unified ecosystem of mobile connected devices, information appliances and smart 'furnishings,'" said Weili Dai, Co-Founder of Marvell. "Marvell's leadership in mobility, consumer, storage, enterprise networking and Wi-Fi products completes the circuit, delivering a powerful end-to-end total solution to anyone connected to the new global mesh, from consumers to small business and the enterprise."
The ARMADA XP supplements the Marvell Plug Computer initiative by enabling a new class of mobile servers to serve the growing performance demands of connected consumer devices like smartphones and tablets.
The ARMADA XP is based on Marvell-designed ARM v7 MP compatible CPU offering 1.6GHz processing per core performance, delivering 16,600 DMIPS to make high performance computing affordable for mainstream applications. It integrates 2 MB of L2 cache and supports 64-bit DDR3 memory interface with ECC at 800MHz clock rate to enable a high throughput memory sub-system design. The ARMADA XP is a highly integrated System-on-a-Chip (SoC) that combines quad x4 PCI-express (PCI-e) interfaces, multiple USB ports, Gigabit Ethernet ports, SATA ports, security engine and other I/O peripherals to make system designs simple and economical. With ARMADA XP's advanced power management architecture, it offers the industry's best performance per watt to alleviate the challenges of energy and cooling costs faced by enterprise and server class systems.

Key Features
  • Industry's first quad-core ARM processor for enterprise applications
  • Up to 1.6GHz processing performance for each ARM v7 compliant core
  • 16,600 DMIPS performance at less than 10 watts
  • "Heterogeneous multiprocessing" (SMP/AMP/Mixed) with "hardware-based Cache Coherence"
  • Up to 2MB system level two cache
  • Supplements the ARMADA family of single, dual-core and tri-core processors for easy software porting
  • 64-bit DDR2/DDR3/DDR3L memory interface with ECC support at up to 800MHz clock rates
  • 4 PCI-e Gen 2.0 units
  • 4 enterprise class Gigabit networking ports
  • Up to 16 high speed Marvell SERDES lanes with multi functionality (PCI-e, SATA, SGMII, QSGMII)
  • Multiple USB ports
  • Ultra low power consumption with advanced power management capabilities

Marvell offers complete development platforms for the ARMADA XP enabling customers to start system development without waiting for hardware. Development platforms are available including software drivers and board support package.

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