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Working with Open Source

OS, Kernel, and Firmware Developers

Working with Open Source

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.

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 39 as of December 2023). Fedora typically contains the most recent Linux kernel and system libraries available, which makes it a great match for evaluating Linux-based operating systems on our 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 Family and AmpereOne Family hardware.

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 Family and AmpereOne Family hardware.

Key to our work with these open source communities is our Upstream First development approach. For example, we work with the Linux kernel community to support Ampere processor features directly in the latest Linux kernel. We regularly evaluate 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 Arm64 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 evaluation, 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 Arm64 servers. When we refer to operating system certifications and compatibility 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 Arm64 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 Compatibility Testing

In addition to working directly with selected operating system vendors to certify Ampere platforms, we regularly boot and evaluate a set of popular operating systems in our datacenters on our SOCs and reference boards in bare metal over PXE. However, we expect our OEM and CSP partners to evaluate and certify the behavior of operating systems in their environment, as different customers can make different choices about hardware components in the platform. Contact your server system or motherboard manufacturer (original equipment manufacturer or OEM) for OS compatibility information.

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 their operating systems on Ampere.

The following companies and communities offer software solutions for Linux operating systems. If you are experiencing Linux-specific issues, the Linux operating system vendor or Linux community is the best source of support. Check those support channels for support, certification, troubleshooting, and re-installation.

Operating System Availability

Enterprise Linux Operating System Vendors

Oracle LinuxDownload
Red Hat Enterprise LinuxDownload
SUSE Linux Enterprise ServerDownload
Ubuntu ServerDownload

Community Linux Distributions

Rocky LinuxDownload
Fedora ServerDownload
Alpine LinuxDownload
CentOS StreamDownload
Flatcar Container LinuxDownload
Gentoo LinuxDownload
Arch LinuxDownload

BSD Distributions

The FreeBSD ProjectDownload
The NetBSD ProjectDownload

Important Notes

Ampere Computing is not a Linux distribution nor operating system vendor nor a Linux support provider.

Customers are responsible for the certification of OS/VMM combination for their platforms. They may validate additional features that are not validated by Ampere and claim support on their platforms.

Confirm with the OS/VMM suppliers for the latest and future OS/VMM support for Ampere platforms (links in the table above) or contact your server system manufacturer for OS compatibility details.

For a given distribution release, Ampere performs minimal compatibility testing, including installation of the distribution and running a common set of basic operations on bare metal. Compatibility does not include VM installation or testing. Compatibility testing information is provided only for the convenience of our customers, and Ampere makes no guarantees or warranties of any related to this testing or any related information, including, but not limited to, warranties regarding accuracy, completeness, compatibility, performance, or sufficiency for any application, use, or purpose. OEM and cloud service provider partners are expected to validate and certify the behavior of operating systems on their platforms, since they define the specific hardware components and firmware implementation of their platforms.


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Created At : October 4th 2023, 10:25:09 am
Last Updated At : June 17th 2024, 4:57:52 pm
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