Ampere's Altra processors were developed primarily for cloud service providers, which is why the company pushed systems on their base to customers like Alibaba and Oracle. But as the company is gaining traction, it wants its platforms to be available to a broader audience. To do so, it needs to partner with large server makers, and starting from the third quarter, HPE will offer ProLiant machines powered by Ampere's Altra CPUs with up to 128 cores.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise's ProLiant RL Gen11 powered by Ampere's Altra (up to 80 cores) and Altra Max (up to 128 cores) processors is a single-socket 1U machine. They can house up to 4TB of memory using 16 DDR4 memory modules, up to 10 2.5-inch NVMe SSDs, and two M.2 SSDs. In addition, the machine can accommodate three PCIe Gen4 expansion cards and two OCP 3.0 add-in-boards.
Unlike companies like Foxconn or Wiwynn, which aim their Ampere Altra-based machines primarily at cloud services providers, HPE positions its ProLiant RL Gen11 servers for enterprises with cloud native developments. Meanwhile, since the ProLiant RL Gen11 is a server machine designed for enterprises, it comes with HPE's iLO with the company's silicon root of trust capabilities for traditional HPE server management and OpenBMC enabled for open-source deployments. So, the ProLiant RL300 Gen11 is naturally fully supported by HPE.
Still, given the nature of Ampere's Altra CPUs, HPE's ProLiant RL Gen11 is not exactly a competitor for x86 servers from the company (at least not for classic enterprise applications), and the manufacturer expects owners of these machines to run cloud applications tailored for these Arm processors. Ampere claims that its Altra CPUs can offer 2.5 – 3 times the performance of competing systems at half the power; however, this claim is quite general. It depends on actual workloads and has to be verified by independent testing.
HPE will start selling its ProLiant RL300 Gen11 servers based on Ampere's Altra and Altra Max processors beginning Q3 2022. The machines will be available worldwide for purchase or as-a-service through HPE GreenLake. The pricing of the machine is unclear, but it will undoubtedly depend on the exact configuration.
HPE will only offer a single-socket Ampere Altra machine in its ProLiant lineup for scale-out environments. Still, the company implied that eventually, it would also offer machines with a more significant number of CPUs.
One of the first customers to adopt the new machine will be CloudSigma, a cloud IaaS and PaaS provider with advanced hybrid hosting solutions in Europe, The US, APAC, and the Middle East in over 20 locations.