Power cut in central London today – Quick, get down the shop and get more AA batteries!

Power Cut!

We were in with some customers today around Liverpool Street in central London when there was a power cut (link). Initially we just thought the building was out of action but shortly afterwards we realised all the traffics lights and services in the area were in trouble too. We were all rendered useless without email and web access as the visitors wifi access point was one of the first victims of this power cut (Worrying how dependant we have become!). Desperate times, desperate measures, so we decided to relocate to the nearest watering hole (which was packed for that time of day!)

The events of the day got us talking about UPS protection and how long a server, data-centre and even are area could survive on UPS protection. One of the customers who joined us runs a company data-centre and he commented that theres about 40 minutes worth of UPS protection which protects their critical infrastructure….

The power cut began around 3pm and power was restored around 8pm. Our poor customers data-centre began it clean shutdown 4hrs20mins before power was restored! Around 3:45pm, I suggested they should have been running our ARM Viridis servers in their data-centre. The local sys admin grunted and sighed. Restoring the company infrastructure from scratch was a job that was going to take some time.

What if they had been using our ARM Viridis Server?…

I didn’t have numbers for the UPS but lets assume something along the lines of a 3000VA UPS (link). This would last for 40 minutes at about 1500w. Lets also assume the servers were running at 100% load (for ease of calculation rather than typical use case), we would have 8.5w for a Viridis server (link) or 390w for a E5-2680 server (link, ref Table1)

Servers Type # of Servers/Cores Power Consumption Lifetime on UPS
Intel E5-2680 4 servers / 64 cores 1560w 38.4mins
Viridis Cortex A9 180 servers / 720 cores 1530w 39.2mins
Viridis Cortex A9 16 servers / 64 cores 136w 441mins / 7.3hrs

So an equivalent number of ARM cores would have survived on the company UPS! Shame it took a real power cut to realise this..

Boston ARM Viridis Server Extends Its HPC Capability with Allinea Development Tools


2013-07-01,  Warwick, UK – Developers porting and debugging HPC/server applications to the ARM architecture received a major boost with the announcement that development tools from the parallel software tools experts, Allinea Software, are now available on the Boston ARM Server platform.

Boston’s ARM-based server has been designed from the ground up to deliver an incredibly power-efficient and highly scalable platform.  The Boston Viridis servers are based on the low power Calxeda EnergyCore ECX-1000 SoC, with quad-core ARM A9 Cortex CPUs and fabric interconnect. With each 2U chassis packing up to 48 servers, customers can populate over 1000 servers per rack, all interconnected via a high bandwidth low latency interconnect. The Boston Viridis server offers a unique low power, high-density platform ideal for specific HPC workloads.

The Allinea DDT debugger and Allinea MAP performance profiler are extremely scalable parallel development tools that enable more efficient use of resources, whilst reducing the complexity and risk of software development. Developers will resolve software defects quickly using Allinea DDT, and tackle any performance bottlenecks discovered during the scale out to multiple servers with Allinea MAP.

“We are delighted to have Allinea Software join the growing ranks of thought-leaders supporting the Calxeda platform,” said Karl Freund, VP of Marketing, Calxeda, “Clearly, having the leader in scale-out development tools available on EnergyCore will be a big help for anyone porting and testing solutions for ARM-based low power servers.”

Allinea Software’s tools were selected due to their well-known ease of use and popularity in High Performance Computing (HPC) and provide the most capable integrated debugging and profiling tools on the market. Allinea DDT and Allinea MAP are used to resolve bugs and improve application performance for multi-core and multi-process applications, and are the de-facto standard for users of the world’s largest supercomputers.

“This represents a vital enabling step for our customers”, said David Power, Head HPC at Boston Limited, “The availability of tools for this platform makes porting, debugging and profiling a more efficient process. The tools are very well known and respected throughout the HPC community and having them ported to our platform will mean users not only have a familiar development environment, but also access to one of the most scalable debuggers and profilers in the industry. It’s yet another migration from the x86 barrier addressed!”

“Energy efficiency is one of the major challenges facing us all today – and developers are keen to discover the benefits that different processor architectures can bring to the applications that matter to them,” explained David Lecomber, COO of Allinea Software. “By supporting this ARM platform, we are providing new flexible approaches to software developers who are seeking to develop software more effectively by using the right tools.”


This blog post has been taken from our good friends over at Allinea. Ref: http://www.allinea.com/news/bid/95028/Boston-ARM-Viridis-server-extends-its-HPC-capability-with-Allinea-development-tools