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New operating system(s) could target the consumer (mobile, traditional) and enterprise spaces

In the wake of ARM Holdings Plc.'s (LON:ARM) announcement of the upcoming 2014 ARM Cortex-A50 cores, ARM's first 64-bit processors, the company had more big news to share.

Ian Forsyth, program manager at ARM, announced this week that Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) was onboard and the two companies were working together closely to make sure one or more versions of Windows support the new iteration of the low-power architecture.  

Nandan Nayampally, head of ARM's processor marketing division, wrote to PC World in an email, "ARM works with all its OS and ecosystem partners to inform them on next generation technologies and enable their support."

The current version of Windows 8 for ARM chips -- Windows RT -- only supports 32-bit chips.  Likewise, Windows Server 2012 is expected to bring ARM server chip support -- but no 64-bit support.  That's not much of a problem because, as mentioned, 64-bit ARM CPUs won't land for another two years.
Samsung Ativ Tab
Samsung's Ativ Tab is among a crop of initial Windows RT products.

Early retail Windows RT products include Microsoft's Surface and ASUSTek Computer Inc. (TPE:2357Vivo Tab RT, both of which use NVIDIA Corp.'s (NVDA) quad-core, 32-bit Tegra 3 system-on-a-chip (SoC).  Dell, Inc.'s (DELL) XPS 10 and Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930) P8510 Ativ Tab instead use the dual-core variety of Qualcomm, Inc.'s (QCOM) Snapdragon 4, also a 32-bit chip.

x86 software does not run natively on ARM architecture chips, or vice versa.  That means that any application you want to run will need to have been freshly recompiled for Windows on ARM (WOA).  

The grunt work is not limited to recompilation.  Microsoft will have a lot of hard work ahead looking to port and optimize Windows 8 or its successor to work with the new ARMv8 64-bit instruction set extensions.

Source: ARM



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Domain controllers
By dgingerich on 11/2/2012 6:08:02 PM , Rating: 2
ARM would work great as a domain controller. Those don't need a whole lot of power, if they're done right. Imagine a small, low power (<25W) domain controller in each wiring closet covering ~50 users each with a slightly bigger (~100W, dual socket, quad core, 16GB of memory) "master" domain controller in the server room. All the little domain controllers reference back to the one in the server room. That setup could take the place of some big, >600W single domain controller setup and work on about half the power and a tenth the cost, and authentication would be faster because the domain controllers would be closer (physically and logically) to the users. That is also something that could be done with just 32-bit systems, if managed right. We could do this today, if the software were here.

Another thing that 32-bit ARM could do right now for the datacenter is a cheaper online KVM. Older systems that don't have an IPMI interface could have a module connected to the back at the USB and VGA ports that would connect to the network and allow virtual media and remote console functions. With the way ARM has been used in phones for cheap, it couldn't cost more than about $50 to build the module, and they wouldn't have to be much bigger than the KVM dongles we have today. All that's left is putting the software on it that would handle these functions. They could be sold for ~$300, make a ton of profit, and still cost half the competition. It would definitely be a money maker, if only someone would do it.




RE: Domain controllers
By Flunk on 11/2/2012 6:42:19 PM , Rating: 2
Arm processors are not socketed. You can get a tonne of them on even small boards. That's what Windows Server 2012 on ARM is all about. Don't expect to see them in systems designed for low-end uses (most will come in racks of nodes with each node sporting 28+ cores) for a while.


RE: Domain controllers
By CashMoney23 on 11/4/2012 9:58:37 PM , Rating: 2
First off, there are no "master" domain controllers. AD is a multi-master distributed database with no DC having more weight than another. The only exception to this are FSMO role onwers and that's just extra tasking (other than the PDCE) which is virtually non existent. Most organizations massively oversize their DCs as it is today. The biggest ability for cost savings with regards to AD today is virtualization and Hyper-V in 2012.

Lastly, DCs could not go back to 32-bit. The limited virtual memory spaces cannot handle current day auth, and other DC function.


RE: Domain controllers
By retrospooty on 11/5/2012 7:22:00 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly...


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