Up to 40% of all Arm servers are deployed in China

At the same time, company pipped to be preparing for IPO

Servers powered by Arm chips are on the rise, especially in China, where new figures estimate that 40 percent of Arm-based servers are now deployed.

It has been a long journey for chip designer to get its architecture into datacenters, but new figures from Bernstein Research estimate that nearly 10 percent of servers across the world contain Arm processors, and 40 percent of those are located in the Middle Kingdom.

The figures were shared online by independent tech investor and columnist Eric Jhonsa.

It isn't too hard to understand why Arm-based systems might be doing so well in China. Although the vast majority of servers are still running on x86 chips from AMD and Intel, these are manufactured by US companies and it is becoming more difficult for Chinese companies to obtain advanced chips because of Washington's trade restrictions.

By contrast, the Arm architecture is available for license by chipmakers around the world, including many in China such as Alibaba and Huawei, which may make it a more palatable option for companies there.

E-commerce and cloud computing titan Alibaba - China’s Amazon - has, for example, developed its own server processor chips to sate its requirements, as well as ensure supplies, and last year disclosed it plans to power 20 percent of operations with its own CPUs by 2025, as The Register reported.

Amazon itself is growing the volume of its services that are powered by Arm chips, with a report last year estimating that 15 percent of server deployments by Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2021 were Arm-based, and it was expected to surpass 20 percent in 2022. The overall share of datacenter servers powered by Arm chips was predicted to reach to 22 percent by 2025, according to research outfit TrendForce.

Referring to figures from IDC and Gartner, Bernstein said while its estimates of Arm's share of server deployments differed (between 7 and 9 percent in 1Q23), the direction of travel was clear and consistent – upwards.

Canalys president and CEO Steve Brazier also made a big prediction for Arm servers last year.

Noting that 99 percent of smartphones use Arm chips, plus 97 percent of tablets, and nine percent of PCs, he claimed that 16 percent of the public cloud was already based on Arm, and that "something big is going on with AWS and Graviton (Amazon's Arm chip)."

"Our next prediction is one that should wake everybody up. We predict that by 2026, 50 percent of CPUs sold to the public clouds will be ARM based, not x86 based. This is a massive shift in industry structure, which I think people haven't recognised," Brazier said. ®

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