ARM v8 processors, traditionally found in the mobile phone space, are now gaining in popularity among desktop hardware vendors and major Cloud Service providers alike. ARM v8 processors offer better performance and reduced power consumption for reduced infrastructure costs over x86 processors from Intel and AMD.

Couchbase has for many years offered our embedded NoSQL Database, Couchbase Lite, on ARM platforms, but with recent CPU improvements in the ARM ecosystem we’ve now partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to deliver our range of software including application SDKs and Sync Gateway in ARM v8 compatible versions.

With the introduction of Couchbase Server 7.1, we’ve added support for clusters running Linux on 64 bit ARM v8 processors.

ARM platform support

Some examples of systems using an ARM v8 platform are:

    • AWS Graviton-based EC2 instances – Couchbase Server running on new ARM-based cloud instances provide the best return on investment (ROI) in the industry when compared to current generation x86-based platforms.
    • Apple Silicon M1 – This enhancement allows developers to deploy containerized Linux clusters on the latest ARM-based Apple Silicon hardware, using the same container image as used in a production cloud deployment.
    • Raspberry Pi 4 – Embedded single board computers (SBCs) like the Raspberry Pi 4 are typically built with ARM v8 CPUs, new use-cases will now be available to deploy on these platforms.

Running a Couchbase Server cluster on ARM v8 provides complete flexibility to end-users. There’s no difference to running on x86 apart from using a compatible software package, all the typical functionality in Couchbase Server is fully supported. Client applications can optionally also run on ARM v8 instances, but this is not a requirement.

With our initial release of ARM v8 support for Couchbase Server 7.1.0, we support clusters running on the Amazon Linux 2 operating system. This provides the best out-of-the box experience for most use-cases, especially those deployed on AWS.

Amazon has aggressively priced their Graviton powered instances, so they are typically 20% cheaper than similarly configured x86 instances. In our YCSB benchmark testing we’re seeing upwards of a 65% improvement in read and update latency with additional improvements in overall throughput using Graviton-2.  And because Graviton2 supports 8x DDR4-3200 memory, with always-on 256-bit DRAM encryption, which provides more memory bandwidth compared to x86 platforms, some Couchbase Server use-cases could see infrastructure costs cut in half

Are you struggling with infrastructure costs? This new architecture support might help your use case too.

Further reading


Posted by Ian McCloy, Director Product Management

Ian McCloy is the Director of the Platform and Security Product Management Group for Couchbase and lives in the United Kingdom. His dedicated team is responsible for the Reliability, Availability, Serviceability and Security architecture of Couchbase Server and the SaaS Database, Capella. This team also own cloud-native platforms like the Couchbase Kubernetes Autonomous Operator. Ian has a vast range of experience as a Software Engineer, Technical Support Engineer, Quality Assurance Engineer and Systems Administrator. Ian has led global technical teams for the majority of his 20 year professional career and holds several patents in the areas of information security, virtualisation and hardware design.

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