Microsoft OCP Project Olympus and ARM64

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Cavium ThunderX 2 in Microsoft OCP Project Olympus Server
Cavium ThunderX 2 in Microsoft OCP Project Olympus Server

At OCP Summit 2017, Microsoft announced several new initiatives around its project Olympus platform. It showed off the server and announced that not only Intel would power Project Olympus servers. AMD Naples will be joining the ranks for the x86 dual socket server. As for ARM, Microsoft said it is working on both Cavium ThunderX2 and Qualcomm Centriq 2400 servers.

Microsoft Project Olympus at OCP

Here are some of the slides Microsoft shared. First it shared the Microsoft Project Olympus OCP server design.

Microsoft OCP Summit Hardware Highlights
Microsoft OCP Summit Hardware Highlights

The company then proceeded to show off a number of hardware platforms including Skylake-EP, AMD Naples dual socket, Qualcomm Centriq 2400 48 core ARM, and dual Cavium ThunderX 2 52 core ARM CPUs. You can see the CPU vendors on the second slide

Microsoft OCP Summit Project Olympus Vendors
Microsoft OCP Summit Project Olympus Vendors

Beyond the announcement of OCP’s project Olympus vendors, it specifically went into ARM64 Cavium and Qualcomm vendors.

The company said it has FPGAs and cooling in its Project Olympus servers but did not show off the FPGA parts.

ARM64 at Microsoft

Microsoft also announced a number of servers based on the ARM64 standard. We hope to hear more. The Qualcomm Centriq 2400 motherboard had 12 DDR4 DIMM slots and a single 48 core CPU.

Microsoft OCP Summit Project Olympus ARM64
Microsoft OCP Summit Project Olympus ARM64

The company also showed off a dual socket Cavium ThunderX 2. That system had over 100 cores and can handle gobs of memory. We like the idea of the Cavium ThunderX 2 as it’ll give Intel and AMD a run for their money in dominance. The ARM vendors are trying to gain a foothold in the hyper-scale market beyond Google, and Microsoft publicly announcing support goes a long way.

Cavium ThunderX 2 in Microsoft OCP Project Olympus Server
Cavium ThunderX 2 in Microsoft OCP Project Olympus Server

By next year we’re expecting Microsoft to roll out an ever wider range of partners. It seems to be taking an approach different to Facebook and is offering more architectures specifically tuned to workloads.