Ampere is leaving stealth today, as a producer of ARM-based server microchips that will contend with Intel for a cut of the lucrative datacenter chip market. The organization is supported by private equity investment firm The Carlyle Group and driven by CEO Renee James, a previous leader of Intel. Ampere has a model 3.3-Ghz ARM-based processor, which it intends to launch in the near future. What the ARM-server biological system has been missing is its applications, but that is evolving.
Kumar Sankaran, the vice president of software and platform engineering at Ampere, said the timing is better for ARM processors in the data center.
“We are a design company, and our primary focus will be on workloads catering toward the future of the data center. Historically, it has taken 8 to 10 years for a new architecture to work in the data center,” explained Sankaran. “You need the software ecosystem that follows the hardware.”
Ampere is wagering that the planning is correct, and their first processor has already been tested. It is a custom-core ARM v8 64-bit working at up to 3.3 GHz, 1TB of memory, and a power envelope of 125 watts.
James’s new job will be to take a share of the overall industry from Intel, the world’s biggest chip creator, or to at least put a little imprint in Intel’s 99% piece of the pie in servers. She would like to do that with the ARM design that is utilized as a part of the world’s cell phones, and that is known for its effectiveness in execution at low power levels. Ampere is entirely possessed and was subsidized by The Carlyle Group, where James has been working for some time building Ampere in stealth mode.
“There aren’t a lot of people doing new CPUs,” said James in an interview with VentureBeat. “We’re pretty unique. We’re building microprocessors for servers. To do this kind of work, it takes a tremendous amount of investment. We raised quite a bit of money. They’ve been on a very long journey, but now they’re out of the dark. In addition to those guys, we’ve hired people from Apple, people from Intel, people from AMD. We have a senior fellow from AMD. We have a really interesting group, a lot of really talented folks.”