Imagine taking the same ARM processors that makes your smartphone so darn small and powerful and putting it to work for your company in a data center environment. Now, imagine thousands of those energy-sipping ARM processors working together to serve your website or power your cloud applications.
Calxeda made news when it announced a server platform with dramatically reduced power demands compared to the competition. Its EnergyCore line of products promises to deliver data center level performance while utilizing the same amount of power as a mobile phone. This combination of ARM technology and custom frameworks allows large IT data centers to experience high performance processing at a fraction of the energy costs.
This bet on energy efficient technology landed Calxeda a $55 million funding round as it ramps up production to meet the needs of a growing number of interested parties. Energy efficiency is one of the last great cost savings for data centers across the country, especially as more businesses depend more on a sound IT infrastructure to operate.
Calxeda’s current primary offerings include the EnergyCore Architecture which includes an integrated fabric switch, energy efficient processors, and Quad-Node cards which can seat four processors in a variety of applications. The processors (powered by ARM technology) are referred to as server-on-chip (SoC) units and each one can operate on as little as 1.5 watts of power. Combined into a Quad-Node EnergyCard, these processors can be used to meet a variety of needs while taking up a fraction of the space of a traditional unit.
I had a quick word with Karl Freund, Calxeda’s VP of Marketing, to discuss this latest funding round and what it means to the future of the company.
“The money will be used to hire software and hardware engineers, as well as drive additional go-to-market investments to ramp sales.” This is good news for the Austin area, and great news for Calxeda.
Austin is the home of quite a few large technology-dependent companies which could certainly benefit from an infrastructure that is as energy conscious as it is reliable. Topology agnostic deployments including up to 4096 nodes means that a system designer can create a cluster that meets the needs of the business, and expand upon it as needed. These clusters can also be made fairly small, as the processors themselves handle much of the duties typically assigned to additional hardware modules.
When asked whether or not this technology has other advantages for the user, Freund said, “Yes! Depending on the application, the purchase price could be half that of X86, and the space consumed could be 1/10th of what it would be.” He continued, “Calxeda is the only vendor with an integrated fabric switch. This dramatically reduces power, space, and networking gear costs.”
You would think that energy and space efficient systems would be a matter of common sense by now, but Calxeda was actually the first company to introduce a server-class ARM-based solution to the market. Essentially, it took technologies that made smartphones thin and powerful and re-purposed them to serve in the data center. When every penny counts, efficiency is key.