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Calxeda Fedora’s Launch Pad into ARM Microservers

The Fedora Project now has a cluster of four high-density Calxeda-powered Viridis systems to play with

Calxeda, the ARM-making low-power microserver hopeful, has gotten some traction with Fedora, Red Hat’s open source Linux sandbox where technologies pregnant with possibility are developed and tested ostensibly by an army of community volunteers.

The Calxeda EnergyCore chips, still 32-bit and wrapped in Boston Ltd’s Viridis servers, have been planted on the path to making ARM a so-called Fedora – and ergo a Red Hat – “primary architecture,” itself a pregnant moment for all concerned.

The Fedora Project now has a cluster of four high-density Calxeda-powered Viridis systems, each with 24 servers inside, to play with. The installation, which reportedly went down smooth as silk, is the first enterprise-class ARM server deployed for the ARM port of Fedora. It’s targeted at the project’s software build infrastructure and is supposed to accelerate the community’s ongoing development of Fedora for the ARM architecture, something Fedora reportedly sees as an emerging industry trend for data centers because the servers suck up comparatively little in the way of power.

Earlier this year, the Fedora Project announced the availability of Fedora 18, the latest version of its free operating system distribution. The new ARMspecific features added to Fedora 18 include support for industry standards such as the Pre-boot Execution Environment (PXE-boot) technology, a method often used in data center automation to simplify the installation of operating systems on servers.

The feature was reportedly heavily leveraged by the Fedora Project in deploying the Calxeda cluster.

For the deployment, the Fedora Project migrated off of old infrastructure to the Calxeda-based cluster which enabled the physical consolidation of multiple generations of developer boards into a uniform server environment for the project’s ongoing build and validation activities.

Calxeda said this deployment of ARM servers is the first time the Fedora community has been able to use standard deployment tools like PXE and Kickstart on an ARM system.

It also said that since production deployment the performance and reliability of the new hardware has delivered “impressive performance, accelerating application development, and lowering the barrier for porting and supporting the ARM software ecosystem.”

Calxeda marketing VP Karl Freund said, “The Fedora Project team’s experience – from install to deployment to production – is a testament to the compatibility of Linux code on Calxeda: it just works. That is what data centers will expect and demand from ARM platforms, and we plan to deliver.”

Calxeda now has 100 employees split between its Austin headquarters and its Silicon Valley operation. It’s funded by ARM Holdings, Advanced Technology Investment Company, Austin Ventures, Battery Ventures, Flybridge Capital Partners, Highland Capital Partners and Vulcan Capital.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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