There is usually a lot of hype surrounding Apple announcements. The recent report of Apple starting to build Macs with their own ARM-based silicon is no exception. But, there’s some meat to this hype; let me explain.
It wasn’t long ago that my iPhone 8 Plus with its A11 Bionic chip could leave my MacBook Air I was using as a daily driver in the dust. The ARM-based phone you’re carrying around (Apple or otherwise) probably has more computing power than the entire Apollo space program.
In 2017, I was linked up with Edward Vielmetti of Works on ARM fame. I was already tinkering and building Kubernetes clusters with Raspberry Pis. Ed validated my thinking and while it’s going to be quite some time before we’re all running ARM chips, that day is coming. I saw ARM as a fine alternative thanks to modern languages multiarch compilers (may The Maker bless Go). But there was always a cross-compilation tax for users. But, it was a one-time task if you were smart about things.
To further prove ARM’s market penetration, Docker Hub supported “multi-platform” images in 2017. Cloudflare was also benchmarking the ARM chips they had their hands on in 2017 against their Intel fleet. Red Hat announced an ARM-based distro of RHEL back in 2017 (Note: Red Hat is my employer). In June 2020, an ARM-powered supercomupter became the fastest supercomputer in the world.
Yesterday, I was reading the news like I normally do (in my favorite newsreader, Inoreader). I kept seeing reports about the new M1 ARM Macs making their users happy. I came across one article showing a very bright future for the next generation of ARM-based Macs (the M1X chip). It’s supposedly a 12 core monster that will arrive in the 16” MacBook Pro next year. All this Apple talk is the exact opposite of what I usually discuss. But, it shows the progression of ARM over a breathtaking pace. Which led me to tweet a brief synopsis of the recent history of ARM…
That market has proven itself. AWS offers ARM chips and some of the biggest supercomputers in the world use ARM. So...— Chris Short on PTO (@ChrisShort) November 28, 2020
Laptops and desktops are the next logical evolution and I can’t wait.
Needs to be good enough to get consumer buy-in.
Yes, the servers came before the supercomputers, obviously, but I was in the middle of like three things at once. Needless to say, ARM is here. We’re talking about it because Apple has the design and fabrication capacity to make it happen. But, there will be many opportunities for the ole Intel and AMD allies to make the switch to offering yet another processor architecture. Dell, HP, Asus, Acer, etc., have to show they aren’t lagging behind somehow. Make no mistake, Apple has the luxury of comparing itself to itself for now and potentially for all time. But, I can guarantee Microsoft does not want to lose the ARM market completely. It’s why they have an ARM version of Windows. Hold on tight, folks. With more ways to crack an Intel chip open seemingly springing to life every month (math done by a person who is bad at it), change is afoot (or an ARM if you’re into dad jokes).
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No shortage of KubeCon Virtual 2020 recaps this week, let me know if I missed some:
- KubeCon 2020 hindsight: The ultimate abstraction of the cloud native community
- KubeCon NA 2020 Key Takeaways: Platforms, Safety, and End Users
- KubeCon 2020 Highlights and Key Takeaways
- KubeCon 2020 Recap – Maturity in Cloud Native
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An online place of record
Medium isn’t the place where people write anymore (don’t use Medium) which is good. But, what’s replacing it is another tech startup. Take control of your online brand. chrisshort.net is sixteen years old. The site or its contents have come up in every interview since 2017. It’s wild but, shows the power of owning your content.
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The kubernetes network policy validator.
DevOps’ish Tweet of the Week
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