Perhaps the biggest announcement at OCP Summit 2017 was that Microsoft Windows Server 2016 now runs on Qualcomm Centriq 2400. Microsoft is working both with Qualcomm Centriq 2400 and the Cavium ThunderX 2 parts to bring ARM servers into its cloud infrastructure ecosystem. While the majority of the work we have seen on ARM servers thus far has been on the Linux side, Microsoft is using Windows Server with these ARM chips.
Demo of Qualcomm Centriq Running Windows Server 2016
On the OCP Summit 2017 floor, Microsoft had a demo running of the Qualcomm Centriq 2400 running Windows Server 2016. Here is the demo in its glory:
For those looking for guideposts on reading that image here is what you are looking at. First and foremost, this is not the production Windows Server 2016 that you may buy. This is an internal version of the OS running .NET services for Microsoft’s cloud services. Here is the official quote from Microsoft’s blog post:
To enable these cloud services, we’ve ported a version of Windows Server, for our internal use only, to run on ARM architecture. We have ported language runtime systems and middleware components, and we have ported and evaluated applications, often running these workloads side-by-side with production workloads.
Second, this is a remote desktop session with several console outputs running in the top left. The bottom left window is showing that the particular system is running on a Qualcomm 48 core ARMv8 64-bit processor. The right side of the screen is showing loading across all cores with several pegged at very high CPU utilization.
Third, this is is showing the ARMv8 CPU with a Windows GUI. This is not simply running a core version without GUI which is a feat unto itself.
Fourth, the Qualcomm Centriq 2400 was a single socket design. Cavium ThunderX 2 OCP platforms on display were dual-socket designs.
This is certainly a huge milestone towards ARMv8 adoption and a validation both for Qualcomm and Cavium in the marketplace. Microsoft showing off ported Windows code running on the platform along with stating that their evaluation process has lead to ARM selection is a major milestone in the ARM server community.