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HP Moonshot Debuts Low-Power Servers

By Sean Michael Kerner (Send Email)
Posted April 8, 2013


In November of 2011, HP first announced its Project Moonshot effort to enable ARM servers for data center use.

Today, HP finally declared Moonshot to be commercially available and ready for production. The Moonshot system is a converged platform that includes HP ProLiant Moonshot servers in a Moonshot enclosure.

While the initial Moonshot announcement in 2011 was all about ARM, today's commercial availability highlighted the HP Moonshot 1500, powered by an Intel Atom S1200 2.0 GHz low-power processor.

The Moonshot 1500 includes up to 8 GB of memory, and network integration is a particular strong point for the system, with 6 x 10 GbE SFP+ connection ports per server.

The basic premise behind Moonshot is lots of low-power server chips, enabling great density and improved power utilization.

HP Moonshot During a live webcast event today, HP also noted that Calxeda ARM-based Moonshot systems were set to become part of the commercially available production effort.

The Moonshot 1500 houses 45 Atom S1200 servers, and has a networking switch integrated in its 4.3U server chassis enclosure. The integrated network component is heralded by HP as being the "world's first software-defined server."

Linux Inside

Initially, the only supported shipping operating system on the Moonshot 1500 is Linux. HP has partnerships with Canonical Ubuntu, Red Hat and SUSE Linux for Moonshot.

During a live webcast announcing the Moonshot servers, HP execs did stress that Windows workloads could be enabled for the Moonshot servers as well.

Workloads

The low-power scale-out Moonshot architecture is not intended for all types of workloads. One workload that HP is highlighting is in web serving, which is where HP is using Moonshot today.

David Donatelli, executive vice president and general manager of Enterprise Servers, Storage and Networking for the Enterprise Business at HP, explained that part of HP.com is running on Moonshot.

"HP.com gets about 3 millions hits a day, and we can now run HP.com on the equivalent power of 12 x 60 watt lightbulbs," Donatelli said.

By using the low-power Moonshot servers, HP is using 90 percent less power than they would be using with standard x86 based server architectures.

"The whole concept of Moonshot is how do you solve the problem differently through innovation," Donatelli said. "We think this is a seed change in the way that servers are built."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network,  the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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