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Semiconductor company ARM enters data centre fray with next-gen networking technology

ARM Holdings has announced a new offering in the data centre fabric business with next-generation networking technology that the UK chip design firm said will address the expansion of big data over the next 10 - 15 years.

The Cambridge-based semiconductor company's ARM CoreLink CCN-504 cache coherent network is being billed as an advanced system of licensable intellectual property that can deliver up to one terabit of usable system bandwidth per second.

The new technology will "enable SoC designers to provide high-performance, cache coherent interconnect for 'many-core' enterprise solutions built using the ARM Cortex-A15 MPCore processor and next-generation 64-bit processors," according to ARM.

Licensees of the new technology include LSI and Calxeda, the Austin, Texas-based microserver start-up that recently pulled in $55 million (£34 million) for its latest investment round.

"Calxeda and ARM have been working closely to meet the demands of the data center since ARM's initial investment in our company in 2008, and we are beginning to see the fruits of that relationship. We are already building our next generation data center-class solutions using this new ARM CoreLink technology, and think we will once again send shockwaves across the industry when they are announced," Calxeda co-founder and CEO Barry Evans said in a statement.

Calxeda has been touting recent performance testing conducted in-house and by third parties that the company claims demonstrates that its server chips "deliver as much as a ten-fold improvement in energy efficiency compared to today's commodity x86-based servers."

ARM said its new CoreLink CCN-504 products would feature up to 16 cores on a single chip. Processors in the CCN-504 family are able to access other CCN-504 processor caches, an advantage for "heterogeneous multi-core and multi-cluster CPU/GPU systems," the company said.

The advantages of that compatibility include more efficient use of off-chip memory, a saver of both time and energy in the data centre, according to ARM.

"As the amount of data used increases exponentially over the next 10-15 years, the CoreLink CCN-504 and DMC-520 will play an important role by providing high-performance system IP solutions for many-core applications. This ensures quality of service and coherent operation across the system, and enables SoC designers to efficiently prioritize and handle wide data flows with optimum latency," said Tom Cronk, deputy general manager of ARM's processor division.