Centerton-based HP’s Moonshot “no match for Calxeda’s EnergyCore”

Following their recent review of the Boston Viridis, Anandtech have had their hands on HP’s new Moonshot ‘Microserver’ system based on Intel’s Centerton Atom CPUs and have drawn some interesting comparisons against the Calxeda architecture used in Viridis:

It is simple: even at 2 GHz, the Atom S1260 is no match for Calxeda’s EnergyCore at 1.4 GHz. The EnergyCore is the better server chip thanks to out of order execution, a 4 times larger L2-cache (4 MB) and the fact that it can offer 4 real cores.  Even if we assume that the 2 GHz Atom S1260 performs 8% better thanks to its higher clockspeed, it is no match for Calxeda’s EnergyCore. Continue reading

Viridis server is “…a serious threat to x86 server domination” – ExtremeTech

ExtremeTech have followed up on the Boston Viridis review posted on AnandTech a couple of days ago calling the Viridis and Calxeda ARM server a serious threat to x86 domination.

“After seeing the performance figures, I agree. There’s a place for ARM products in the datacenter”

“ARM server shipments will be fractional for the next few years, but this is the biggest potential challenge to x86′s server monopoly in well over a decade”

Calxeda’s first ARM server is a serious threat to x86 server domination

Full article:

ARM-as-a-Service (for software migration to ARM)

Boston Ltd have recently announced the availability of their ARM-as-a-Service cloud. This cloud enabled dedicated remote access to preconfigured systems with an array of tutorials and videos on how to use porting and tracing tools from Ellexus (Breeze)


The service is geared towards users/companies interesting in porting their software to the ARM architecture and Boston offer a wide range of professional services are this cloud offering to train people up on using the tools efficiently.


Contact Boston Cloud Sales to arrange a call with a cloud consultant.

Read the full release here

Openstack demonstrated at CloudExpo

At CloudExpo Europe 2013, Boston unveiled their Viridis platform fully loaded and managed with openstack!

London, UK (January 29, 2013). Boston Limited a leading manufacturer of high performance, low-powered server, virtualisation, storage and cloud solutions, is proud to unveil its ultra-scalable Viridis Cloud solution, powered by OpenStack™ and ARM®, at Cloud Expo Europe 2013. For more information and a live demonstration please visit Boston at London’s Olympia on Stand #661.

Read the full release from Boston Ltd.

Benchmarking Sysbench (OLTP)

Following on from the last benchmarks performed, the ApacheBench tests Apache Benchmarks we wanted to understand how well databases would perform on our Viridis platform. Typically DBs go hand in hand with apache instances and used throughout enterprises in various roles. The tests we will focus on today are OLTP (online transaction processing) random reads from a database.

The Setup:

  • Identical versions on Ubuntu used, 12.04 (different arch versions!)
  • 1GB per core/hyper-threaded core of RAM
  • Single 256GB SSD per server
  • Databases created with 1,000,000 entries
  • Random Reads were performed across 100,000 entries (10% of the database)

The Sysbench Commands used:

(setup the DB): sysbench --test=oltp --mysql-table-engine=myisam --oltp-table-size=1000000 --mysql-user=root prepare

(Viridis Test): sysbench --mysql-user=root --num-threads=4 --max-requests=100000 --test=oltp --oltp-table-size=1000000 --oltp-read-only run

(Intel Server Test): sysbench --mysql-user=root --num-threads=32 --max-requests=100000 --test=oltp --oltp-table-size=1000000 --oltp-read-only run

The Results:

So as expected, node vs node our system achieved ~18% of what the Intel server did. However when you consider the performance per watt, or transactions per watt the overall picture looks much better for Viridiis platform.

Linux Format Review

Our friends over at Linux Format put the Viridis server through its paces and it featured in the Christmas release of their mag Issue 165.

The Raspberry Pi isn’t the only ARM-based computer to be upsetting the status quo. At the other end of the scale, another British firm is packing ARM processors into rack-mounted servers.

Read the LXF Viridis Review

If you havent already got a subscription (shame on you!), you can subscripe here

Addressing the power challenges of Exascale? (whitepaper)

At the machine evaluation workshop in daresbury (MEW), Boston presented on the Viridis platform and put forward some interesting points on how their ARM platform could potentially be a contender as a platform for next generation exascale systems. The whitepaper is available from the Boston website (registration required): White paper: The Boston Viridis ARM® Server: Addressing the Power Challenges of Exascale?

And a quick pic from the show (it didnt take long for people to clean us out of baseballs 🙂

Viridis – New 144TB Platform

Boston are delighted to announce new additions to the Viridis familiy! At SC12, Boston announced two new 4U additions to the Viridis range that can be configured with up to 36x 3.5″ or 72x 2.5″ drives.

With the industry’s most comprehensive range of ARM-based servers, the Boston Viridis platform is available as both a 2U high density compute platform or 4U storage platform. Each of these Viridis units contains up to 12 quad-node EnergyCards with built-in Layer-2 networking, providing up to 192 cores and 48 nodes per enclosure. The 2U compute system can be configured with 24x 2.5″ drives (SATA/SSD) and the 4U storage platform configured with 36x 3.5″ drives, providing up to 144TB per enclosure. These low power high density solutions allow for configurations of up to 1000+ servers per rack or ~1.5PB of storage per rack, providing customers with industry-leading power, space and cost savings.

Read more about this on the website.

ARM vs Atom: Phoronix Benchmarks

The team over at Phoronix have completed a comprehensive suite of tests which compares the performance of a single Boston Viridis SoC to an Intel Atom D525. The tests covered a range of applications including: NAS Parallel Benchmarks, Video Encoding, Rendering, Molecular Dynamics and more. A further set of tests compared the scaling of the ARM cpus and a comparison of the performance improvements between ubuntu 12.04 and 12.10.

“Overall, a single 1.1~1.4GHz Calxeda ECX-1000 Cortex-A9 server node proved competitive against an Intel Atom D525, a x86_64 CPU that is clocked at 1.8GHz with two physical cores plus two logical cores via Hyper Threading. While the Calxeda node did nicely against the Atom D525 in a majority of the Ubuntu Linux benchmarks, the real story is the performance-per-Watt, which unfortunately can’t be easily compared in this case due to the limitations mentioned in the introduction. If there were the power numbers, the Calxeda ARM Server would likely easily win with the SoC power consumption under load averaging 4 Watts for the 1.1GHz card and just over 6 Watts for the newer 1.4GHz variant. The Atom D525 has a rated TDP by Intel of 13 Watts.”

Further details on the test environment and compiler flags used are on the Phoronix pages below: