Arm, Microsoft say arch can be trusted with real server work • The Register

Arm is this week celebrating passing a few of its own self-set milestones in its long quest to compete against x86 stalwarts Intel and AMD in the server processor space.

One, we’re told, is that Microsoft Ampere Altra-based Azure servers are now Arm SystemReady SR certified, “the first cloud solution provider (CSP) server to do so,” said Arm Chief System Architect Andy Rose on Monday.

Another is that Azure VMs powered by Altra processors are the first of their kind to be certified as compliant with the SystemReady Virtual Environment standard. And the other breakthrough, according to Rose, is that there have been more than 50 certifications of SystemReady products since the launch of the program.

Introduced in late 2020 as part of Arm’s Project Cassini, SystemReady defines a set of firmware and hardware standards for things like servers and workstations, embedded electronics, and smartNICs, and is intended to ensure software runs without a hitch on compliant systems. If your application stack is designed for, say, the SystemReady SR set of requirements, you should be confident that it’ll run on products that are certified as SystemReady SR compliant.

This kind of validation is important because Arm lacks the luxury of decades of server and workstation software support enjoyed by its x86 competitors, Daniel Newman, principal analyst and founder of Futurum, told The Register. “I think the idea of change is somewhat daunting for many organizations,” he added.

Growing by degrees

SystemReady essentially provides software developers, original equipment vendors, and chipmakers a baseline for system development. The SystemReady Base System Architecture, for example, provided a minimum set of hardware requirements to boot an operating system.

Arm initially offered four certification tiers. SystemReady LS targeted hyperscaler-like server hardware running Linux-based operating systems and hypervisors, while…