A large number of chip makers these days are developing server-class system-on-chips based on the ARM architecture, and trying to grab a piece of the lucrative server market.
Several analysts have also expressed their beliefs that ARM architecture could disrupt the server market. But the CEO of VMware, Patrick Gelsinger remains skeptical about ARM in the server space:
“We are skeptical that chips [from] outside of Intel and Advanced Micro Devices’ x86 [architecture] will find much uptake outside of niche use cases. Even if you could drop the power consumption of x86 by 25%, it would not make that much of a difference. Chip architectures don’t change because of 25% power improvements. You have got to have 10x power improvements to make that happen.”
Prior to joining VMware, Patrick spent thirty years designing chips at Intel, so he knows the business inside out. Still, he raises some valid points above, and unless the situation drastically improves in terms of power requirements, x86 architecture is set to rule.
And this is good news for Microsoft and its server ambitions. The company recently made its first foray into ARM with Windows RT to a lukewarm response.
Nevertheless, a recent report from HIS iSuppli seems to suggest that ARM is increasingly gaining support from software and OS vendors — and if this continues, it could potentially put pressure on both Intel and AMD in the coming years.