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Univa automates ARM infrastructure for Hadoop

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Univa, provider of workload-management software for data centers, has rolled out a version of its platform that supports IT infrastructure built on ARM processors.

Gary Tyreman, Univa CEO, said the company viewed ARM chips as the next “Lego block” in the building of next-generation data centers, similar to the addition of accelerators and graphics processing units (GPUs) to make modern applications perform better. There will be a mix of processor architectures in data centers in the near future, which will include ARM servers running some applications and x86 servers running others.

Univa released the beta version of its Grid Engine software for ARM early on so customers can start testing it, Tyreman said.

There are multiple applications that are core for Univa’s technology, including serial and parallel ones, such as Hadoop. Grid Engine can schedule serial jobs and complex parallel ones on a single shared infrastructure.

Hadoop and high-performance-computing applications are Univa’s primary targets. Automation of data center resources for cloud infrastructure is another obvious use.

Adoption of ARM chips for servers is going to accelerate because of the typical modern data center concerns: space, power and cooling resources. So-called “wimpy-core” chips address all three, Tyreman says.

ARM Holdings is a UK company that licenses its processor designs to chip makers. Its processors are currently dominating the mobile-device market, while also picking up momentum in the server space.

Univa started support for wimpy-core processors with ARM, as opposed to Intel’s rival product Atom, because, in Tyreman’s view, the former has greater momentum in the server space than the latter does. Grid Engine does not support Atom at this time, but “we will,” he said.

ARM’s momentum is about to increase further because first server chips using the 64-bit version of the architecture are already on the market, and more are expected to become available next year.

Applied MIcro announced availability of its 64-bit ARM server processor  called X-Gene in January and said it expected multiple vendors to ship servers with the chips inside by the end of the year. Calxeda, Applied Micro’s rival in the ARMs race, plans to release its 64-bit product in 2014.

Univa uses servers based on Calxeda’s 32-bit ARM chips to develop Grid Engine.

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