Adding SDN to the ARM core pushes technology forward

Applied Micro had always been out there early with plans to build next generation ARM chips for the server. It actually showcased the first 64-bit ARM v8 core back in the day (2011). But it’s newest chip is pretty interesting in that it contains a software-defined network (SDN) controller on the die that will allow network control services like load balancing and presumably, automation, on the chip directly.

The promise of SDN is that it allows administrators to provision network capacity in a more realtime and malleable fashion which matters in data center environments where resources need to be moved around. It accomplishes this by decoupling the “control plane” on the network from the “data plane.” (For more on software-defined networking, see the podcast I hosted on the topic.)

The push for ARM chips in the data center continues on track as Intel tries to compete with its own low power Intel Atom chips. And while the same debates about wimpy vs. brawny cores continue as well as questions about how truly power efficient ARM cores are, there remains considerable investment in and potential for ARM powered servers to further innovate the data center.