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Discussion Starter #1
"Server rooms" here don't necessarily mean work setups. I believe we will have more "centralized" computer infrastructure in our homes too...

It will probably take another year or two to get an answer whether Intel (mostly) can be challenged in the server room. But admittedly, the smartphone/tablet market of late made (fabless) ARM architecture a potential giant slayer in this market.

It is essentially a time race:
Will Intel manage to bring down TDP of their CPUs and more importantly, convince the gadget makers to use it?
Or will ARM create a server-level CPU and trounce Intel's dominance in the server market?

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/12/report-google-contemplates-homemade-arm-chips-to-power-its-servers/
http://www.engadget.com/2013/12/13/arm-acquires-geomerics-gaming-graphics/
 

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Home servers are still going to be an enthusiast thing, so there will be a mix of x86/x64 commodity PCs, and out of the box NAS boxes with Marvell and similar chips.

Most people will still stream commercial content, and use cloud storage for personal content.
 

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The trend is definitely toward so call "cloud services." For consumers, that will mean more use of internet music and video streaming services. For storage, that means more use of so called "cloud storage" services. That is, internet based file storage and backup services. Even software is moving toward an annual fee model with software and updates automatically delivered by internet. Information moved to the internet long ago. Hardly anyone stores encyclopedias, dictionaries and other information locally. Everything is "in the cloud" for retrieval with a simple search.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I like the "cloud" idea just like the other guy, but...

With NSA (and I believe not only them) peeking their nose everywhere without asking
permission, I'll wait for the tools to build "my cloud" at home... I think we are almost there.

E-mail, picassa, etc. - by all means, have a go at it.
Everything else - thanks, no thanks (with the exception of some encrypted files)...
 

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I tend to agree with the privacy concerns. However, the trend is toward cloud storage and internet services, especially for mobile devices and tablets.
 

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That is enthusiast then, and roll your own "cloud" is out there as enthusiast solutions, meaning some research and assembly (literally and figuratively) is required.

Most of the general public is fine with "The Cloud", whether or not if they should be, mostly because they aren't doing anything that the NSA or other agencies are looking for.
 

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I have two home brew servers. One use an Intel Atom on a Mini-ITX server board and the other uses a low power (45w) AMD Athlon X2. The second is older and serves as a backup for the first. Newer processors could do better but they draw fairly low power on standby. A quick look at a popular online retailer shows that not much has changed since I built the Intel Atom Mini-ITX system. The same board is still available. There is support for lower power LGA 1150 chips but that's about it.

The leap to RISC architecture (like ARM) would not be that big a leap for Intel. Their modern chips are essentially a RISC chip with an X86 emulator on top. The bigger problem is the vast amount of software than is written for x86. Related article: Intel on track to build two chips with ARM inside

I've looked at cloud storage for backups. There are two major issues. One is the cost for storing the amount of data required to backup several PCs. The other is internet speed and bandwidth. Canadian ISPs are still too restrictive with upload speeds and bandwidth. Internet plans that could handle the task are not available in most areas and are very expensive.

On a related note: Google is planning to build future data servers using ARM chips. Their power needs are enormous and they build their own solar arrays and wind farms to reduce power costs. The reason for using ARM is to reduce power requirements.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The reason for using ARM is to reduce power requirements.
I don't think that's the only reason.
Primary goal, I believe, is the granularity of control.

Having a server rack running 100 Xeons vs. 1000 ARMs.
You have much better control what is running and what is idle...

Breaking lose from Intel's proprietary architecture must also be high on the list...
 

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Unfortunately "servers" span a lot of different requirments.

My particular field requires the biggest, fastest, CPUs and memory systems possible because the S/W that we run is for the most part single threaded or only multi-threaded to a certain degree.

Having a bajillion slower processors does not help me at all.

Even the more general movement of Intel/AMD towards multi-core CPUs has not helped me over the last several years since as a rule the maximum speed really hasn't gone up for quite a long time.
 

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There may be other reasons but low power requirements are the main advantage for large server operations. That's a major expense for operating large data server/storage farms. It's not just the power used, which can be millions of MW/hr, but the cost of cooling and providing backup power. 100 Xeons vs 1000 ARMs would provide little or no advantage. 100 Xeons vs 100 ARMs would be a huge advantage.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Unfortunately "servers" span a lot of different requirments.
Exactly! Just like PCs of yesterday.
They are still around and quite a few people can't do without them.
But as it turns out a good portion (majority, probably) don't do anything
but email/facebook/internet/etc. and are just fine with tablets...
100 Xeons vs 100 ARMs would be a huge advantage.
100ARMs will never do what 100 Xeons can do. There are no miracles like that.
But 1000 ARMs idle will save gobs of KWh compared with 100 Xeons idle.
IIRC, idle state happens more than 50% of the time (on a Google/Facebook/Twitter scale)...
 

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I think server room is a bit of a misnomer (although I do have a room at home that I call my server room). The term that should be used is Data Centre as more and more companies are moving their computing facilities to Data Centres rather than having their main facilities within their office building. Plus there is the growth in cloud computing and SaaS that is driving this as well.

My two home servers, a WHS 2011 box and a SageTV media server, are running 4-5 year old Intel architecture. I should do stuff to make them more energy efficient but I haven't worried about this too much as I am more concerned about the convenience. Running 24x7 at 100W means that I use 2.4kWh/day. That costs about $0.50/day or $3.50 a week - less than a Starbucks Latte.

But I still prefer having total control over my own content as it is far too easy for Netflix et al to turn off content that is crucial to you. This happened to me with the US Netflix service losing Nickjr content earlier this year. My daughter couldn't understand why she couldn't find Dora the Explorer anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I believe virtualization is the future...

You will have some sort of server in the closet that runs a hypervisor.
On top of it you can run Win, Mac, Unix, Linux virtual machines accessible from PCs, Macs, smartphones, tablets, you name it...

Switching hardware platforms means re-attaching your NAS/DAS/etc. to another "server box".
Platform - Intel, AMD, ARM, etc. - doesn't matter. You just need the hypervisor to run. The rest goes on top...

Your home gadgets - computers, tablets, smartphones - connect to those VMs, RDP-style.

You can do all this today.
It's just a bit maintenance heavy and the fancy components are not exactly free...
 

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four said:
Switching hardware platforms means re-attaching your NAS/DAS/etc. to another "server box".
Platform - Intel, AMD, ARM, etc. - doesn't matter. You just need the hypervisor to run. The rest goes on top...
It sounds like you're suggesting that you can take a x86 VM and run it on a ARM chip. You cannot.

This isn't hardware emulation. ARM chips are already way slower than x86, imagine how much slower they would be if they also had to emulate x86.

One additional point, there are many server workloads where single threaded performance is important, and ARM won't be able to compete with Intel until they get much faster chips. And then, if they got much faster chips they would probably have x86-level power profiles. Perhaps even worse, because ARM chip makers are using older fabrication technologies than what Intel has access to.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
It sounds like you're suggesting...
I wasn't. Read the title of this thread. And the first sentence in the post you quoted.

If you can spare me another mentoring session on English language definitions, I'd really appreciate it.
 

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