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Enabling the Open-Source Community

OS, Kernel, and Firmware Developers

Enabling the Open-Source Community
Reference Platforms at Ampere
Start with the Core
Evolve to Systems
Extend to Software Ecosystems
How Ampere Works with Operating System Vendors
Host vs Guest Operating Systems
Operating System Certifications
Ampere’s Operating System Validation
AArch64 Ports of Operating Systems
Blogs
Enabling the Open-Source Community

Ampere is designing and building Cloud Native Processors for the next generation of computing. We understand that developers use systems, and those systems require a variety of open-source software to be enabled for them. Learn how Ampere uses reference platforms partnerships with system manufacturers, how we work with the open-source communities, including operating system vendors and cloud providers to align product features to an upstream-first development approach.

Reference Platforms at Ampere

Start with the Core

Ampere is designing the future of hyperscale cloud and edge computing with the world’s first cloud native processors. Built for the cloud with a modern 64-bit Arm server-based architecture, Ampere gives customers the freedom to accelerate the delivery of all cloud computing applications. With industry-leading cloud performance, power efficiency and scalability, Ampere processors are tailored for the growth of cloud and edge computing. Ampere cores are single threaded to provide predictable performance and workload isolation. They come with generous amounts of L1 and L2 cache, and System Level Cache to accelerate throughput and data-heavy workloads. They also offer industry leading power efficiency/core.

Evolve to Systems

In order to facilitate faster evaluations Ampere engineers create reference platforms. These platforms are representative of production systems and used to validate both hardware and software.


Reference Platform

Our current reference platform for Ampere Altra and Ampere Altra Max is Mt. Jade (PDF specs).

These platforms are entirely specified by Ampere and built to our specification by an ODM. Upon delivery of initial reference platforms, all hardware features of the platform are tested and validated. At the lowest level, we verify the boot-up process, test the BMC, and verify the embedded firmware.

We further verify that the entire system works as defined with the Ampere Altra and Ampere Altra Max, using an extensive barrage of hardware and software tests. Finally, we run system-level tests using a recent release of the Fedora Linux distribution (Fedora 36 as of Aug. 2022). Fedora typically contains the most recent Linux kernel and system libraries available, which makes it a great match for validating Linux-based operating systems on our platform.

In addition, we continually work with OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) and ODMs (Original Design Manufacturers) on their platform designs in conjunction with ecosystem software partners to ensure that our platform offers the best possible experience to users.
Where to try and buy

Extend to Software Ecosystems

We work with the open source software ecosystem to ensure rapid readiness and results for evaluations and deployments.

Our first concern is the firmware, the lowest level of hardware enablement. Ampere Computing contributes to the TianoCore/EDK2, LinuxBoot, OpenBMC, and OpenOCD projects for various aspects of firmware support for our reference platform.

Additionally, our engineers work with the Linux kernel, system libraries, and developer tooling communities to improve the end-to-end experience on Ampere Altra and Ampere Altra Max hardware.

Key to our work with these open source communities is our Upstream First development approach. For example, we work directly with the Linux kernel community to support Ampere processor features directly in the latest Linux kernel. As a result, every Linux distribution which picks up a recent Linux kernel will fully support our platforms, including the latest Ampere hardware features. We regularly validate minimal functionality for a set of the most popular Linux distributions and run a set of functional tests for many common open-source projects.

Below you’ll find information describing how Ampere works with operating system vendors and Cloud Service Providers to allow developers and customers to run software with the confidence that their operating environment has been tested. Additionally, we will give an overview of the status of AArch64 support for the most popular Linux distributions for those considering those operating systems either for guest (VM or container runtime) environments, or for bare metal/host OS usage.

How Ampere Works with Operating System Vendors

In addition to platform validation, we appreciate the need for customers to have confidence that the most popular operating systems will work well on our platforms.

Host vs Guest Operating Systems

Most of Ampere’s work related to operating system validation is for host operating systems, running on bare metal. Once Ampere platform capabilities are made available to the operating system, the interfaces provided to guest workloads (either Virtual Machines, through a hypervisor, or container workloads, through operating system features) are independent of our underlying hardware and function the same on any ARM-based servers. When we refer to operating system certifications and validation below, we are discussing host operating systems. We also provide a list of popular community-supported operating systems with links to the status of their AArch64 support which can be used for guest workloads.

Operating System Certifications

Ampere collaborates with operating system vendors, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), and Cloud Service Provider (CSP) customers to ensure the availability of the most popular software for our platforms. We work with Enterprise Linux vendors to ensure that their operating systems are certified on Ampere’s reference platform.

Certified Operating Systems

All of Ampere’s CSP customers also offer support for a number of guest operating systems, running as virtual machines (VMs) or containers, with other popular operating systems available as “Community images”.

Ampere’s Operating System Validation

In addition to working directly with selected operating system vendors to certify the Mt. Jade reference platform as a bare metal platform, we regularly boot and validate a set of the most popular operating systems in our datacenters on bare metal over PXE. However, we expect our OEM and CSP partners to validate and certify the behavior of operating systems in their environment, as different customers can make different choices about hardware components in the platform.

For popular community-supported Linux distributions, we also collaborate to ensure the availability of hardware to those communities to enable them to build and test AArch64 ports of their operating systems.

AArch64 Ports of Operating Systems

Operating SystemsAArch64 StatusInstall Media
UbuntuUbuntu Server on ARMUbuntu LTS 20.04
CentOS StreamAArch64 fully supported CentOS Stream downloads
OpenSUSEOpenSUSE AArch64 AArch64 ISOs
Red Hat Enterprise LinuxRHEL - additional archesNot public
Oracle LinuxAmpere A1 ComputeN/A
Alma LinuxAlmaLinux 8.6 available on ARM/AArch64Alma 8.6 AArch64 ISOs
Rocky LinuxN/ARocky Linux downloads
DebianDebian port to ARM64Debian current ARM64
FedoraFedora on AArch64Fedora AArch64 downloads
OpenMandrivaOpenMandriva suooprts AArch64AArch64 server ISO
MageiaARM64 support experimentalN/A
FreeBSDArm64FreeBSD Dowloads
NetBSDAArch64 supportN/A
Arch LinuxArch Linux on ARMInstallation docs
Alpine LinuxAlpine on ARMAlpine downloads
Gentoo LinuxProject:ARM64Gentoo Downloads
Flatcar LinuxFlatcar releasesN/A
Kali LinuxKali on ARMN/A
Blogs

Looking Beyond SMT in the Cloud

The modern cloud has been at the forefront of innovation for the last decade. Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) have leveraged economies of scale and technologies like virtualization and high-speed...

June, 2022
Naren Nayak, Sr. Dir. of Application Engineering

Migrate CentOS 8.5 to AlmaLinux 8.5

If you have CentOS 8 installed, there is an automated migration script for you to migrate seamlessly to the latest version of AlmaLinux 8.5 without uninstalling and performing a fresh installation.

March, 2022
Jeffery Tu, Solution Architect

Moving past CentOS 8

Welcome to the Ampere Developer blog series. We have a vast developer audience asking us a lot of great technical questions. We realized a blog to share our thoughts and responses would benefit...

March, 2022
Dave Neary,
Created At : September 6th 2022, 10:38:27 am
Last Updated At : October 27th 2022, 10:32:52 pm

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