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Qualcomm and Microsoft partner on version of Windows Server for ARM chips

Qualcomm and Microsoft announced today that they are extending their partnership to include a version of Windows Server built to run on ARM architecture. In particular, Microsoft has developed a version of Windows Server for internal use designed to work on Qualcomm's Qualcomm Centriq 2400 platform.

According to the announcement, Microsoft has been working on this for years. For right now, however, it sounds like this optimized version is only for use at Microsoft's own data centers. That said, Qualcomm promises this partnership will span "multiple future generations of hardware, software and systems."

QDT's OCP submission is the result of a multi-faceted, multi-level engagement between the two companies to facilitate ARM adoption into the data center. It encompasses multiple areas of hardware and software including board development, firmware, operating system, compilers and tools, and CoreCLR.

Microsoft and Qualcomm have been cozying up quite a bit lately, only recently announcing a version of full Windows 10 for ARM is in the works. Built to work on Qualcomm's upcoming Snapdragon 835 chip, this version of Windows 10 will be able to run x86 code code and apps on the ARM architecture, which is pretty impressive. That project is expected to arrive sometime later this year.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

21 Comments
  • Cool
  • Sorry I might be a noob. But are ARM chips powerful enough to run servers?
  • In most cases servers don't need a lot of power just for serving web pages. When you use ASP, JSP, or something like that there is the need to transform the files into HTML to serve out, but even that is not something that requires a lot of horsepower. The benefit of using ARM is that they use much less power which translates into cost savings for less power to the CPU, less power consumed to cool the server, and so on. This also means that you can add multiple CPUs to the same machine (multi processor, multi core) and still see savings. With more CPUs you can also reduce the space consumed since you don't need the complex cooling systems. They may not be powerful enough for some situations such as number crunching (although, there are some times when they can do that efficiently), but for many cases they will work fine.
  • Thanks for the info ☺
  • Those cooling systems for server farms I just found out are some of the most complex systems out there.
  • Qualcomms full support for Windows now is ominous. There's big things coming for Windows and ARM
  • They way it seems to be shaping is Windows running on ARMs should open up new product lines...
  • @Richard Loveridge. "Qualcomms full support for Windows now is ominous. There's big things coming for Windows and ARM" Ominous? Qualcomm's full support for Windows is not a bad thing lol.
  • Maybe ominous for Intel?
  • Yes, big things like Surface phone and Windows Cloud device.
  • Cost and power saving.
  • Hmmm, not sure where the sweet spot for a SnapDragon would be for regular Windows Server software.  Windows Servers themselves are a quite expensive solution.
      For SnapDragon to make sense one would need a cheapo or free version of Windows Server.  I like Microsoft software, but Windows Server software would be no option for me 
    as long as it comes with a price tag.  A Ununtu server just does the job for me - and there are no license fees involved. 
    Linux servers are available for other platforms as well,
    I for one clearly prefer x86 anyway.   Servers are becoming ever more important, even small or tiny ones.
    For those small and tiny ones, Linux is the default standard. So maybe Microsft does not want to leave the field of small/tiny/embedded servers to Linux 
    and plans new SKUs for embedded applications and Home Routers 
    which typically run an ARM and and cannot bear a hefty license fee.    Qualcomm is starting to lose business because some companies 
    who have enough volume, prefer to make their own chips (Huawei, Mediatek, Xiaomi, Apple, Samsung).  Qualcomm may also lose their complete Apple (LTE modem) business to Intel, 
    so they need other applications where they can ship chips to. 
    Servers are obvious. But they might not have unique feature sets that differentiates them for servers.    I'll watch that space.     -  
  • And yet people buy WinServer in large quantities. People know what they are getting for their money, and often Linux does not supply it. Yes, servers are becoming more important, and Microsoft is leading the way with Azure where a device like this would benefit them and users greatly. I was looking up the price, and a 8 core Snapdragon series 8 costs about $30. A 22 core Xeon costs about $2000. That is $90 vs. $3.75, or 22 cores vs. 533 cores for the same price. Having an OS that is built specifically for such a setup, optimized for a chip with that many cores, etc. You say that WIndows Server would not be an option for you because of the price, I also doubt you are running a 22 core Xeon.
  • The wave is building and when it crashes.
  • ...the industry will shift, but years from now.  After this will come modular ARM servers (dreaming), but honestly...once most everything goes to Cloud, then what....you still need to maximize throughput, cost, power, heat, everything...etc.
  • Hmm..... IIS & MSSQL in ARM? Accountants in SME like this!
  • Microsoft are hedging their bets with ARM and Intel, as they did before when they offered Windows NT on DEC ALPHA.
  • Can't wait to see a device with phone cappabilities running full Windows on ARM... tho I feel the price would be high. Still, one can dream for a midrange "phone", I could move again from Android to Windows :) Not that Android is bad, it's just not my cup of tea and I'm kinda scared to buy a 930 or 950 at this point :\
  • I'm happy with my 950XL, but I wish i would've waited for the Elite X3.
  • No point upgrading to an X3 when snapdragon 835 is right around the corner. Likewise I am in the same boat, one of the major things I would gain from an X3 is better battery life, the 950XL runs out of juice after just half a day with my usage.
  • @Compiux; Yeah I know I am in the same boat sought to speak.