Calxeda Raises $55 Million For ARM-Based, Low-Powered Server Chips

Calxeda has raised $55 million for its ultra-low-power server chips that use ARM-based processors instead of the Intel x86 architecture that now dominates the market.

Calxeda, based in Austin, closed the $55 million round with new investments from Austin Ventures and Vulcan Capital. Previous investors have  included ARM Holdings, Abu Dhabi-based Advanced Technology Investment Co., Texas InstrumentsBattery VenturesFlybridge Capital Partners and Highland Capital Partners. The new round brings Calxeda’s total funding to $100 million.

The ARM architecture is growing in popularity as a potential alternative to x86 processors. It’s a wide-open market, as data center owners become more focused on how they can get more performance at a lower cost. Power is a chief concern. Remember, ARM processors run iPhones and iPads. It’s these same processors that are hoped will some day run the world’s data centers.

HP is working with Calxeda to develop the new micro-server technology. Last week, HP said it expects ARM-based servers to represent 15 percent of the server market within the next two years. That is more wishful thinking than anything else. There are still few engineers with deep enough knowledge to build the right infrastructure for this new generation of chip sets.

But according to Data Center Knowledge, Calxeda executives say they will have a production server ready by the end of the year.

Calxeda is not alone in the market. Applied Micro, Cavium, Marvell, Nvidia, and Samsung are all aggressively pursuing the opportunity to take Intel market share with new low-powered servers.