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13 April, 2022 - 23:26 By Tony Quested

Clout in the cloud with Arm chip and Microsoft muscle

Microsoft is leveraging technology from Arm in Cambridge to take computing in the cloud onto a different planet.

A global provider of cloud computing services to more than 95 per cent of Fortune 500 companies, Microsoft is muscling ahead worldwide deploying strong Arm tactics.

The $168 billion turnover US giant is building on the price performance and power efficiency gains of Arm in its preview of new Linux-based Microsoft Azure Virtual Machine offerings, powered by the Ampere Altra platform based on the Arm Neoverse N1 CPU. 

By providing up to 50 per cent better price performance than comparable x86-based Azure VMs for scale-out workloads, the new Arm-based VMs will deliver better overall TCO (total cost of ownership) and cleaner cloud service operations, says Arm’s Chris Bergey. 

Bergey says: “Two years ago, businesses were put to the test in how they adapted to a seemingly overnight transition to remote working. Fast forward to the post-pandemic workplace where the average employee uses more than 30 cloud-based services including file sharing and data security daily. 

“The cloud quickly became essential to a vast number of services we rely on every day. To meet this demand, cloud service providers are seeking out the best approach to cost effectively scale while delivering the compute performance needed to process the 100 zettabytes of data expected to be stored in the cloud by 2025. 

“In fact, the overall cost savings of migrating to cloud services is what’s expected to drive more than 85 per cent of organisations to embrace a cloud-first principle and more than 95 per cent of new digital workloads that will be deployed on cloud-native platforms by 2025 (up by a staggering 65 per cent from 2021) according to Gartner.”

Chris Bergey of ArmBergey (above) says that for organisations to achieve increased cost savings, cloud service providers want a higher performance and energy efficient computing platform like Arm Neoverse to run their modern scale-out workloads. Developers also want a frictionless experience, he says.

Bergey said: “This is why Arm, alongside its ecosystem, is contributing to 100+ open-source initiatives so developers can seamlessly develop and deploy cloud-native applications on Arm-based server platforms. 
“Microsoft has been a key partner in this collaboration, working with Arm on leading languages, compilers, libraries, frameworks and tools most commonly used by developers. 

“That ongoing collaboration has led to today. The new Arm-based VMs will deliver better overall TCO and cleaner cloud service operations for its vast customer ecosystem which spans market segments such as retail, government, healthcare, financial services and manufacturing. 

“The massive scale of a company like Microsoft, which powers 60 plus datacenter regions across 140 countries, means it’s critical that the underlying hardware powering this infrastructure is sustainable – not just for the cloud service provider, but the end users as well. 

“Gartner predicts that by 2025, carbon emissions of hyperscale cloud services will be a top three criterion in cloud purchase decisions. The power to choose an architecture that enables dense, low-cost, energy efficient servers with a small footprint, low power and performant compute silicon is important not only for the future of our planet, but to the innovators creating the technology of our future. 

“As the diversity of workloads increases, there can be no one-size-fits all approach to computing. It’s more important than ever that we work with industry change-makers like Microsoft to put tools in the hands of organisations around the globe to digitally transform their businesses. 

“Together with Microsoft and Ampere, we are doing just that by delivering an improved cloud experience that enables more predictable performance, linear scalability and power efficiency along with compelling price-performance.”

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