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Microsoft Ready To Talk Windows On ARM 342

Posted by timothy
from the hole-in-the-marketshare-dike dept.
An anonymous reader writes "After many months of working in secret, Microsoft is nearly ready to start talking about its plans to bring Windows to ARM-based processors. However, while the company is set to discuss the effort at next month's Consumer Electronics Show, there is still a lot that must be done before such products can hit the market. Among the steps needed is for hardware makers to create ARM-compatible drivers, a time-consuming effort that explains in part why Microsoft is talking about the initiative well ahead of any products being ready. Meanwhile, Ubuntu is already starting to ship on some ARM devices and running on many others."
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Microsoft Ready To Talk Windows On ARM

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  • No surprise (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @05:53PM (#34655244) Journal

    It's not exactly a surprise. Don't produce something for ARM, and it's likely that Microsoft will be left in the dust in the few years on a major platform. I wonder if the NT guts of newer versions of Windows are still as portable as they were a decade ago.

    • Re:No surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gbjbaanb (229885) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @06:10PM (#34655410)

      The NT Kernel might be, even after all this time slapping whatever each release thinks is a useful feature into it, but who cares about that. I think I can guarantee Office will not run on ARM, so its pretty much dead already.

      Then there's the reason to run Windows at all - the 3rd party apps that are x86 only (many are not even x86_64 yet) and they won't run either. So all in all, this is just fluff. If you want a low-energy server farm full of ARM CPUs (and who wouldn't!) then you might as well run Linux there - many, many server apps run Linux anyway. If you want ARM on the desktop, don't hold your breath, and if you want ARM mobile .. you already have it, even for WinPhone 7.

      So, I'm confused. The ARM share price has done well from the rumour, but we'll see what astounding piece of underwhelm-dent gets revealed at CES.

      • Who said Office has to run on it? Or at least the full-blown Office. They've got pretty lightweight stuff like Works out there.

      • Re:No surprise (Score:5, Interesting)

        by PRMan (959735) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @06:29PM (#34655544)
        But .NET applications compile Just In Time. So all they have to do is port the .NET framework and compiler and all .NET applications will work with almost no changes, especially if they virtualize the environment to make it look like a desktop (put a phony C: drive on an SD card, etc.)
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Billly Gates (198444)

          It is not that simple. The MSIL just converts the code to win32 calls. Some of these are for more modern versions of Windows that are x86 specific. You would need to rewrite and port part of the win32 apis and MFCs. Sounds like pure torture.

          • by geekoid (135745)

            well, since it might be hard, clearly they shouldn't try to get into a platform that is very likely to see much of the mobile market.

            or maybe they already thinking about that:

            http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?familyid=30092C39-22D1-4585-8E17-003C1ED00C49&displaylang=en [microsoft.com]

            MS is actually getting their shit together. Maybe you should buy a clue?

          • Re:No surprise (Score:5, Informative)

            by shutdown -p now (807394) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @08:03PM (#34656152) Journal

            The MSIL just converts the code to win32 calls.

            There is a factual error in pretty much every single word in this sentence.

            First, MSIL does not convert anything. MSIL is the bytecode. It is what gets converted, by JIT compiler.

            Second, it does not get converted to "win32 calls". It is converted to native opcodes on the particular architecture. All "win32 calls" are in the libraries such as WinForms.

            Finally, porting Windows to ARM by definition means "port all Win32 APIs to ARM". So even something that P/Invokes a lot would not be affected.

            MFC has nothing whatsoever to do with this. It's not a system API, and it's not used by .NET standard class library in any way.

          • Re:No surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

            by cbhacking (979169) <been_out_cruising-slashdot@yahoo. c o m> on Thursday December 23, 2010 @08:51PM (#34656550) Homepage Journal

            Wow, you're wrong on so many levels!

            MSIL doesn't convert anything. It's the code that gets converted. MSIL (more commonly called CIL, for Common Intermediate Language, now that Mono is a working non-MS implementation) is analogous to Java bytecode.

            What does get converted (using a Just-In-Time compiler) is CIL to native code. Typically, this native code is x86 or x64, but there are already JIT compilers for ARM as well. After the JIT completes, the result is saved locally so the overhead is only encountered once.

            As for Win32 calls, there's no "conversion" at all. What happens is that after the CIL gets compiled to native code, it links into libraries (native DLLs) that implement functions for the OS (such as Win32 calls). For example, if a .NET function calls System.IO.File.Create(), when that code is run, a managed code function gets called, and it in turn calls an unmanaged function in the linked library. That library makes the necessary translation into the native API (let's say Win32 on NT), resulting in an unmanaged call to CreateFile(), which in turn goes into the Win32 user subsystem library and gets translated into a NtCreateFile() system call, which is sent to the kernel.

            If you're on another platform, such as Linux, WinCE, OS X, or other, on any architecture at all, the only difference is that you need to write a library that has the same public interface (System.IO.File.Create()) and calls the correct native function on its own platform (open(), for example). The .NET API is large, so it's not trivial to write this layer, but there's nothing specific to Win32 or x86 about it. Mono has already done this (works on Linux, *BSD, OS X, and even Windows) and so has Microsoft (for WinCE).

            As for pure torture, have you contacted the Mono devs recently to express your sympathy?

          • by noidentity (188756) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @09:32PM (#34656860)
            THE show-stopper is malware. It would take years to rewrite that for ARM, which would put this at a disadvantage for years until malware writers had time to port everything. Not even Microsoft can overcome this obstacle.
        • .NET apps CAN be shipped as pure IL assemblies but as far as I can tell in the real world this is more rarely done than it could and probably should be. .NET assemblies can be compiled into platform-specific assemblies with some Frankenstein mix of pre-complied code in them, and there are many, many .Net apps built targeted for the x86 platform, and which only world when build in such a fashion.
          • Re:No surprise (Score:5, Interesting)

            by fwarren (579763) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @07:16PM (#34655898) Homepage

            It is the same situation as MONO. You can write an app that will run on .NET in Windows and Mono in Linux. Write once and compile for each platform. The problem is it is all to easy to call stuff that wont port. The stark and bleak reality is any .NET app written for win32 or win64 will need major work to run on MONO or .NET-ARM.

            As a stupid example. I had to take a Visual Basic programming course. I had to put some output into a multi-line textbox. If I had a choice I would have used a more advanced table control so I could break up the output into columns. Instead, I turned back to my old win32 api programming days and placed a few tab stops into the textbox. This is done with a win32api call, once that is done, the program is non-portable. Any nontrivial app will require some retooling unless it was written from the ground up to be portable.

            Without a plethora of win32 apps, Win-ARM will have issues. Even then those apps are not designed for the iPad sized tablet or netbook. Dialog are to large, icons not sized for a touch display. If you Look at WM7 as well as all earlier WinCE stuff, this is not looking good for Microsoft.

            • You can write an app that will run on .NET in Windows and Mono in Linux. Write once and compile for each platform. The problem is it is all to easy to call stuff that wont port. The stark and bleak reality is any .NET app written for win32 or win64 will need major work to run on MONO or .NET-ARM.

              You miss one very important reason why it's so hard to be portable with Mono. For one thing, it's because it doesn't fully implement all .NET libraries (e.g. no WPF), or sometimes it isn't 100% identical in terms of how it works. More importantly, it's because so many .NET apps use Win32 API directly (via P/Invoke and COM interop).

              But here's the thing: neither of those would be a problem on a proper Windows/ARM port. Win32 API would be available in full (just as it was in past non-x86 versions of NT), and s

      • by DarkOx (621550)

        Really, why don't you think Office will run on ARM. First off more and more of it is being ported to .Net which we know the VM and runtime libraries are portable so all of that code should just work one ARM. Second any code I have ever seen from Microsoft has been really good about not making assumptions about the size if ints and endianness and things like that which generally cause portability problems. They already have an x86_64 Office that they ship, which is a pretty good sign they could make office

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        I think I can guarantee Office will not run on ARM, so its pretty much dead already.

        Not being able to "run Office" hasn't hurt iOS4.

        • by geekoid (135745)

          yes, it has. There market would be much bigger.

          And it could run it, but you know the MS / Apple love / hate cycles. Right now it's closer to 'hate' then love.

          • by dimeglio (456244)

            It would be love if MS didn't decide to jump on the mobile phone bandwagon. If the company making the OS was split from the one creating the office automation tools, things might have been different. To think it almost [newsmax.com] happened... Sigh.

        • It has another first-party office suite (iWork). Stop confusing the issue.
      • Re:No surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DragonWriter (970822) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @07:11PM (#34655862)

        The NT Kernel might be, even after all this time slapping whatever each release thinks is a useful feature into it, but who cares about that. I think I can guarantee Office will not run on ARM, so its pretty much dead already.

        I think all they really care about is whether IE, the .NET framework/Silverlight, and things like Office Live will work on it. ARM devices, if they are keyboard & mouse/touchpad devices, are going to be more likely to be ultralight netbooks or nettops rather than desktop-replacement laptops or standard desktops.

      • I think I can guarantee Office will not run on ARM, so its pretty much dead already.

        Why not? It's C++ code and runs on x86-32, so it will almost certainly run on ARM with a straight recompile. There's nothing exposed at the C level that's different between the two architectures.

        Then there's the reason to run Windows at all - the 3rd party apps that are x86 only (many are not even x86_64 yet) and they won't run either.

        Hmm, if only Microsoft had bought a company that made an x86 emulator. Oh, wait, they did. A modern emulator traps library calls, so an x86 app running on an ARM CPU would be running native code whenever it called any DLLs that ship with Windows, including all of the drawing routines and so on.

        If you want a low-energy server farm full of ARM CPUs (and who wouldn't!) then you might as well run Linux there - many, many server apps run Linux anyway

        And most of those

        • Re:No surprise (Score:4, Insightful)

          by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@[ ]u.org ['bea' in gap]> on Thursday December 23, 2010 @11:07PM (#34657354)

          > Why not? It's C++ code and runs on x86-32, so it will
          > almost certainly run on ARM with a straight recompile.

          And you would be wrong. Microsoft has done ports to MIPS, PPC, Alpha, Itanium and X86_64. The only ports that have been able to run Office is x86_64 because it can run the x86 version and Alpha because that bad bitch kitty had enough advantage over Intel parts of it's day it could run an emulator for x86 at a good enough clip to let folks run Office. ARM can run in the same weight class with Intel parts but has nowhere the performance advantage to consider emulation. So no, it is doubtful Office is going to be up on ARM anytime soon unless MS has been running a secret project for the last few years.

          Besides, forget an ARM port of Windows. Ain't happening. Any future commercial OSes are going to be Xbox/iPad lockdowns, not the more open environments we grew up thinking of as operating systems. Once Apple proved 3rd party vendors would give up a non-trivial percentage of all sales the days of allowing customers to install anything they want was dead. Ya want that freedom back? Come to the Penguin.

      • The NT Kernel might be, even after all this time slapping whatever each release thinks is a useful feature into it, but who cares about that. I think I can guarantee Office will not run on ARM ...

        I believe MS Office Mac 2008 targeted Intel and PowerPC cpu architectures, that would make it highly portable.

    • Re:No surprise (Score:5, Interesting)

      by PRMan (959735) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @06:28PM (#34655528)
      Actually, there's a video of Mark Russinovich talking about all the changes they made to the kernel to make it more portable. They broke it into 3 layers: MinWin, Server and Full and cut any ties that went up or down between them. I would say it's more portable than ever.
    • I wonder if the NT guts of newer versions of Windows are still as portable as they were a decade ago.

      My understanding is that even though non-x86 retail versions are no longer available MS still built non-x86 versions for internal testing in order to maintain/verify portability of code. It also helps for debugging. A problem that is difficult to reproduce on one hardware platform is sometimes much more apparent on another hardware platform.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 23, 2010 @05:55PM (#34655262)

    Meanwhile, many other Linux distros have been shipping on ARM devices since before Ubuntu was a distribution.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      "Meanwhile, many other Linux distros have been shipping on ARM devices since before Ubuntu was a distribution."

      I thought Linux was a derivative of Ubuntu! (runs)

  • by John Hasler (414242) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @05:57PM (#34655280) Homepage

    ...devices and running on many others."

    Eh. Debian has fully supported ARM for years.

    • by pslam (97660)

      Eh. Debian has fully supported ARM for years.

      Indeed - I've been using Debian on ARM devices for at least 12 years. I'm always amused when someone new comes along and assumes a big distro running on ARM is a new thing.

      • by tukang (1209392)
        If you don't mind could you please share more about your setup and what your user experience is compared to any other x86 systems you have? Thanks
    • by Yvan256 (722131) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @06:04PM (#34655342) Homepage Journal

      Ubuntu is the Arduino of Linux distros.

    • by Kaz Kylheku (1484)

      I remember seeing Linux running on Netwinders sometime around 1998.

    • Wrong way around. Debian has supported ARM for a while, but new ARM devices are shipping with Ubuntu preinstalled. That's the new development - there have been Linux-based ARM devices before, but they've usually been embedded devices. You can pick up a pretty cheap ARM tablet from China with Ubuntu installed now (there are a few hundred for about £100 on eBay at the moment, typically with something like a 600MHz Samsung ARM11 CPU).
  • That's nice... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pushing-robot (1037830) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @05:57PM (#34655282)

    But Windows' main (and practically lone) selling point is that it works with all your old software. If they rewrite it for ARM, it may say "Windows" on it but it won't run your apps or play your games.

    And I'm sure users will enjoy discovering that after they buy "Windows" tablets and netbooks.

    • Re:That's nice... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @06:04PM (#34655348) Journal

      Microsoft has already stopped supporting a good deal of its legacy software with the 64 bit editions of Windows (no more DOS or Win16 support). Quite frankly, I don't think supporting legacy software is as big a deal as it once was. Write everything under the .NET platform and it isn't that big a deal. Yeah, your old games won't work, but I'm wagering a lot of folks running Windows-for-ARM are not exactly going to be looking at running that old copy of Office 2003 anyways.

      • Microsoft has already stopped supporting a good deal of its legacy software with the 64 bit editions of Windows (no more DOS or Win16 support).

        Not quite - you can still run those virtualized in XP Mode.

    • x86 is such a funny architecture. If you've ever done operating system development in x86 it's crazy to see how much old crap there is in there from the 80s. Real Mode! Hello? Not to mention such inglorious hacks as getting the keyboard controller to reset the CPU!

    • But Windows' main (and practically lone) selling point is that it works with all your old software. If they rewrite it for ARM, it may say "Windows" on it but it won't run your apps or play your games.

      And I'm sure users will enjoy discovering that after they buy "Windows" tablets and netbooks.

      I would be very, very surprised if they would port Windows to ARM and *not* include something like Apple's Rosetta. Sure, you take a performance hit when running legacy, crusty apps, but considering that those were probably designed for much slower computers originally it hardly matters if you're running them with a hefty performance penalty now. I know I was quite pleased with the PPC -> Intel transition process on my Macbook Pro.

    • by gilesjuk (604902)

      ARM is a RISC design. It's easier to emulate CISC on a RISC than RISC on a CISC.

    • It worked pretty well with Itanium. Applications generally ran transparently, at roughly the same speed as a Xeon at the same clock speed as the Itanium (1.4-1.7GHz). Some stuff (later versions of Office) specifically checked for IA64 and refused to install, but even these had workarounds.
  • If they want to keep relevant on cheap, portable devices - they'd better support ARM.

    Even the atoms use a lot more juice, and for simple appliances ARM can be enough horsepower.

    Although - they might be advised not to put too much into it, as I don't think there will be much margin on SW for $200 devices and whatnot... And good luck with getting manufacturers to make ARM drivers, I think they'll be needing it.

    • And good luck with getting manufacturers to make ARM drivers, I think they'll be needing it.

      They shouldn't even need to bother doing that. They'd be better off if they get with the program: Slap their user space on top of the Linux kernel (which already has all the ARM drivers). That's what Google did with Android.

      All the old x86 Win32 API apps won't run on ARM anyway, so the Windows kernel won't enable their traditional strategy of leveraging the installed software base. Instead, Microsoft should just port their .NET runtime onto an ARM Linux kernel and call it a day. A lot of modern Windows soft

      • They shouldn't even need to bother doing that. They'd be better off if they get with the program: Slap their user space on top of the Linux kernel (which already has all the ARM drivers).

        Thereby making it almost trivially easy to produce a binary-compatible clone.

  • by gilesjuk (604902)

    Why port it to ARM and talk about it if there's no clear strategy or reason for doing so?

    It's odd that Intel are trying to get people off ARM and onto Atom (low power x86) while Microsoft are thinking of moving people from Intel to ARM.

    • by bloodhawk (813939)
      WTF? how is there no clear strategy or reason? ARM is rapidily proliferating in low powered devices, it performs better than the Atoms. The strategy is obvious, they need to ensure they are not locked out of a rapid growing part of the hardware market by being incompatible with it.
      • Precisely. Besides, any project to produce an ARM-capable version of Windows means that they have a fully portable OS, and are no longer tied to Intel. They tried this in the early 1990s, but Intel's penetration was so great that it didn't make sense to continue putting resources towards Alpha and PowerPC ports. Times have changed, and the proliferation of ARM-based hardware out there is immense.

    • Why port it to ARM and talk about it if there's no clear strategy or reason for doing so?

      My guess is the strategy and reason for doing so is to encourage device makers thinking about, e.g., ARM netbooks to hold off on committing resources to things like Chrome OS (which Google has made it quite clear they want to be on ARM devices as well as the initial x86 devices) and Ubuntu.

      My guess is that Chrome OS is the big trigger, from timing and the fact that Chrome OS is being actively and heavily promoted by a well-funded company that is clearly focussed on competing with Microsoft on a wide range o

  • Nahh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Co0Ps (1539395) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @06:03PM (#34655330)
    Streamlined hardware with bloated software? Doesnt sound like a great combo IMO.
  • by surfdaddy (930829) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @06:03PM (#34655334)
    Among the steps needed is for hardware makers to create ARM-compatible drivers, a time-consuming effort that explains in part why Microsoft is talking about the initiative well ahead of any products being ready

    Isn't Microsoft always talking about initiatives well ahead of products being ready?

    • by Animats (122034)

      Among the steps needed is for hardware makers to create ARM-compatible drivers

      That's really Microsoft's problem, not the hardware makers.

  • As countless articles have already pointed out, it's extremely strange for Microsoft to start "porting" or whatever Windows 7 [embedded|CE|whatever] to ARM. They made a touch interface, they supposedly think it's awesome.. why aren't they using it?

    Talk about fragmentation.. This is just making development/platform targeting even worse, with no gain.

    • Re:Windows Phone 7 (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Archangel Michael (180766) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @07:09PM (#34655852) Journal

      Worse than fragmentation is proves what I've been saying (and getting modded "troll" for it) that Microsoft is a Windows company, not a technology company. Everything they do is trying to leverage Windows. Windows on ARM may just be the stupidest thing they've done. It is as if to say "Me Too On Arm" just to say it.

      Someone needs to fire the board, the top managers and start making some real gutsy calls on direction of the company, or else Apple will eat them for lunch as they keep chasing what Apple and Google have already done.

      I'm kind of feeling sorry for the once great giant these days. They just can't seem to get things right.

      • by xigxag (167441)

        Apple and Google aren't eating Microsoft's lunch. Admittedly Microsoft isn't so dominant as it used to be, but this is supposed to be a good thing for consumers, right? Not a cause for alarm.

        In their most recently reported fiscal quarters:
        Apple revenue of $20.34 billion, net profit of $4.31 billion
        Google revenue $7.29 billion, net profit of $2.17 billion
        Microsoft revenue $16.20 billion, net profit of $3.25 billion. Revenue was a MS all-time quarterly record, in fact. And the profit shattered estimates a

  • Everyone is rushing to get on the platform you were running on twenty years ago!

    Time for you to make a dramatic comeback and show how an ARM powered Operating System is done properly.

  • Why Windows? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Yvan256 (722131) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @06:07PM (#34655382) Homepage Journal

    Why are they trying to keep Windows? Yes it's a well-known brand name, but so is Microsoft. All they have to do is create a tablet-specific OS and leave all the compatibility headaches behind. And even without any compatibility headaches, most Windows applications weren't written with a touch interface in mind, so having a goal of Windows on a tablet is just asking for trouble.

    Microsoft has an opportunity to start fresh, leave the Windows problems behind and create something new. But yet they don't.

    • by Rockoon (1252108)

      And even without any compatibility headaches, most Windows applications weren't written with a touch interface in mind

      Are you missing the part where it will be using ARM CPU's, thus what "most windows apps" are doing is moot?

      This is like pointing at a Linux tablet and asking "Why are they trying to keep Linux?"

    • And even without any compatibility headaches, most Windows applications weren't written with a touch interface in mind, so having a goal of Windows on a tablet is just asking for trouble.

      ARM is not the same thing as touch. Google has been rather upfront in that while the first consumer netbook for Chrome OS following the Cr-48 pilot device will, like the Cr-48, be Intel devices, they really want to get hardware partners for ARM-based Chrome OS netbooks, as well, and eventually they want to deliver (via the Portable Native Client technology now in development on top of the existing x86/ARM Native Client that allows platform-specific native code to run in the Chrome browser) "native" Chrome O

  • With the Chrome OS hardware/software in a kind of semi-public test phase with fairly imminent general release, even though the initial hardware (both the Cr-48 and the announced initial planned consumer units) is x86, there is some pressure on MS, since Chromium OS -- including Native Client -- as I understand is already working on ARM and Google has stated that they intend to work with hardware manufacturers to get branded Chrome OS delivered on ARM devices.

    Announcing plans for Windows on ARM is potentiall

  • by u19925 (613350) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @06:36PM (#34655602)
    Microsoft has an excellent track record of supporting Windows on non-X86 processors. MIPS, PowerPC, DecAlpha, Itanium. With such an excellent track record, I am sure, the industry will take it very seriously and we will see tons of devices, computers in the market very quickly. Thank you Microsoft.
    • by cbhacking (979169)

      Microsoft ports software to hardware that will sell it. They aren't discontinuing Itanium support because they don't take it seriously, they're discontinuing Itanium support because the industry doesn't take it seriously, and therefore doesn't buy it, which makes it kind of pointless to sell software for it. Notice anything interesting about the architectures you mentioned? None of them are used in PCs or workstations anymore, and most of them haven't been in years (a decade or more, for many).

      I have a frie

  • Microsoft's success with end-users is almost entirely predicated on compatibility for third party software. Windows for ARM would not be able to execute Windows for x86 code in any reasonable way. MS would want to have stringent licensing restrictions at significant cost while Google just doesn't care or have reason to care and will let OEMs do what they will. For end-users, no benefit is available from Windows, for manufacturers, the software is an expense that is not recoverable via crapware preloads l

    • by Junta (36770)

      I will also say that this is another reason why not to set desktop expectations on ARM devices given a chance to reset. Why offer major upgrades via retail at all rather than only with purchase of new devices. Now *there* is a way to really win over manufacturers. Android already exhibits this behavior to a large extent with locked down devices, so this may be a lost cause no matter how they position it.

  • Then it will only run one program at a time and be issued in 4 versions.

  • by itzdandy (183397) <dandenson&gmail,com> on Thursday December 23, 2010 @09:42PM (#34656928) Homepage

    I see a gap in microsoft's product line. Its small branch offices where a traditional server is overkill in power usage and expense.

    If microsoft were to produce an ARM version of server2008r2 that was able to provide a full AD DC role, print server role, WSUS or IIS as a single role server on a lighter ARM box they would kill.

    If you could get a single role, or single primary role such as a AD DC + print server, or IIS + WSUS, at a more fitting price for a low power machine, then AD would find many more homes in small offices.

    Considering that ANY full size server is going to chew up 250W, and 350W more often than not, a 100W ARM server, redundant hard disks included, would be a significant savings in expense. 250W*24hours*365 = thats ~2.2MW or around $250, the ARM server would be $150 per year cheaper. Now do 2 AD DC, 1 IIS + WSUS, and 1 fileserver your at 1.25KW*24*365 thats 11MW or $1200 vs $300-$400 for the arm. Microsoft should also license these out at a reduced price (1/2 I think) but keep CALS the same price.

    There are many roles that just arent worthy of an entire machine and shouldnt be put in a VM. A backup server for DPM for instance. Doesnt need much horsepower, just diskspace, server 2008r2, and the DPM software. PERFECT for a small ARM platform like a dual core 1.5-2Ghz.

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