Bloomberg writes the old Wintel alliance is coming under further pressure as Microsoft announced plans to use ARM-based processors in the servers that run its cloud services. The software giant ported a version of Windows Server to the ARM platform and has run workloads side-by-side with production workloads. Microsoft isn't using ARM in customer-facing networks just yet, but said that is the next logical step:
Microsoft has developed a version of its Windows operating system for servers using ARM processors, working with Qualcomm Inc. and Cavium Inc. The software maker is now testing these chips for tasks like search, storage, machine learning and big data, said Jason Zander, vice president of Microsoft's Azure cloud division. The company isn’t yet running the processors -- known for being more power-efficient and offering more choice in vendors -- in any customer-facing networks, and wouldn't specify how widespread they eventually will be.
"It's not deployed into production yet, but that is the next logical step," Zander said in an interview. "This is a significant commitment on behalf of Microsoft. We wouldn't even bring something to a conference if we didn't think this was a committed project and something that's part of our road map."
The move is part of Project Olympus, a new open-source cloud server design that aims to reduce costs. Besides Windows Server running on ARM hardware, the software giant also announced partnerships with various other parties include AMD, Intel, NVIDIA, etc. Project Olympus will include designs with the Intel Skylake, as well as versions with AMD's Naples and the NVIDIA HGX-1 GPU accelerator.