Microsoft is designing its own arm chips for datacenter servers: report

Credit: Microsoft

According to the report, on December 18, Bloomberg reported, Microsoft is working on its arm processor design for its data processor. Bloomberg says that Microsoft is exploring using another chip that will power some Surface PCs, the report said.

While some are portraying this as a response to Apple’s recent decision by Microsoft to field its arm-based M1 processor, Microsoft and Qualcomm have already partnered on Microsoft’s arm chip since 2019 to replace the original Surface Pro Is inside x. The Pro X2 S2 uses the S2 chip, which is a variant of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx chip without 5G.

The part that is more interesting to me is using the arm in Microsoft Server. Microsoft was already working with Qualcomm and Cavium – along with Intel and AMD on Project Olympus, Microsoft’s next-generation cloud-hardware design that provides it to the Open Compute project. In 2017, Microsoft also announced that it was involved with a number of ARM suppliers, including Qualcomm and Cavium that are acquiring Windows Server to run ARM but use only for their own internal datacenters.

Back in 2017, I asked the authorities if Microsoft would ever make Windows Server on ARM available to external partners and customers. He stated that the technology was for internal use only for the purposes of evaluating Azure services on the arm server. But officials noted at the time that they believed that arm servers are good for internal cloud applications such as search and indexing, storage, databases, big data, and machine learning workloads.

I asked Microsoft executives about today’s Bloomberg report and received this response from corporate communications chief Frank Shaw:

“Because silicon is a fundamental building block for technology, we are continuing to invest in our capabilities in areas such as design, manufacturing and equipment, while promoting and strengthening partnerships with a wide range of chip providers.”

I found a recent Microsoft job posting mentioning that Microsoft worked around the ARM64 server in their datacaters. My guess is that this is a continuation of what the company announced in 2017.

From that posting:

“Given the growth of our datacenters, we are always investigating into new hardware and software solutions to meet our scale and customer demand. The Azure New Technology (ANT) team is ahead on future cloud technologies, both hardware and software. Watching and we are checking. And enabling them to use our datacenter. A good example of what we do is develop and deploy ARM 64-bit servers in our datacenter. It’s a multi-year. The effort involves deep partnerships with many silicon companies including collaborating. On enabling future hardware design and software. We have a lot of expertise in silicon, systems, operating systems (Windows and Linux) and application stack with deep technical expertise. Are a good team. ”

Will Microsoft continue to use Arm Server internally for testing purposes only? Or they will start using the arm server inside the Azure datacenter to run new or existing Azure services shortly before.

Another question (or three): Can Microsoft soon follow in the footsteps of Gravitron of AWS, which will soon make custom-built arm cores available to its cloud customers? I recently asked Microsoft if the company had plans to offer Apple M1 instances to Azure to customers – which AWS announced earlier this month – and was told by a spokesperson that “we will meet the developers Committed to being where they are and always working to expand our offerings. We have nothing more to share today. “

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