I was lucky to get to know the folks at Calxeda early on. Back when I first talked to them in Apr 2010 they were called Smoothstone.
At same time i was discussing the idea that Intel Atom chips would be put in Servers.
The efforts by ARM did help to wake up Intel that low power servers were a growing market. Back in 2010 it was all about the # of cores. Now Performance per watt is a standard measure. RAM and HD are more energy efficient. SSD is more common. PUE’s of 1.10 are no big deal. Power supplies are 90% energy efficient. Batteries are put on server boards by Googl and others.
A lot has changed in 3 1/2 years and during this time the demand for ARM based servers is higher, but no big buyers. Why? Intel made changes along with the rest of the server ecosystem to use less power.
Intel Atom’s are used in low power cold storage systems.
And the x86 code base made it so much easier to recompile code for new chip designs to improve performance vs. porting to the ARM instruction set. 64 bit processors are just showing up in ARM. Who wants to run a server on a 32 bit chip even if it has 4 cores.
GigaOm’s Stacey Higginbotham reports on Calxeda shutting its doors. It is kind of sad, but most of my friends who think about chip designs agreed that Calxeda had a tough road to success. Why? Even with $100 Mil, it doesn’t last long when you are trying to create Silicon.
We’ll see where the ARM server does take off. In the meantime ARM dominates the mobile space.