Hewlett-Packard has unveiled a new multi-year, multi-phased program called Project Moonshot that aims to dramatically reduce the footprint and energy consumption of the large server farms required for cloud computing environments.
"For Web 2.0 companies to continually deliver new and innovative services, they must radically reduce the space, energy consumption and cost of their data center infrastructure," said Glenn Keels, product marketing director at HP's Hyperscale Business Group.
In January, HP will open its first HP Discovery Lab in Houston, where clients will be able to experiment, test and benchmark applications on Redstone -- a server development platform that represents Project Moonshot's initial proof-of-concept offering. Additional lab sites are planned in Europe and Asia, where clients will be able to work directly with HP engineers and industry peers to test the new technology's ability to fulfill their specific requirements.
HP's ultra energy-efficient Redstone platform will integrate over 2,800 servers in a single rack that delivers a 97 percent reduction in complexity through reductions cabling, switching and the need for peripheral devices.
"Companies with hyper-scale environments are facing a crisis in capacity that requires a fundamental change at the architectural level," said HP Vice President Paul Santeler.
New Era of Energy Efficiency
The Redstone platform will incorporate energy-efficient processors from start-up Calxeda. Based on ARM's Cortex cores, Calxeda's EnergyCore server-on-a-chip is designed to consume as little as 1.5 watts of power. According to Calxeda CEO Barry Evans, the EnergyCore chip is designed to handle workloads such as Web serving, media streaming and scalable analytics, as well as mid-tier infrastructure tasks pertaining to caching and in-memory scalable databases.
"We believe a new era of energy-efficient servers is now dawning for scale-out workloads," Evans said.
Among other things, EnergyCore incorporates an 80-Gigabit fabric switch together with an integrated management engine with power optimization software. The single piece of silicon also sports a full complement of server I/O features and a large 4MB ECC L2 cache.
The goal is to enable system vendors to offer a complete server node with 4GB of ECC memory and a large-capacity, solid state drive that only consumes five watts of power.
"The HP-designed system contains 288 Calxeda servers in a single, 7-inch (four-rack-unit) chassis," Evans said. "A single rack of HP's Calxeda servers delivers the throughput of some 700 traditional servers and dramatically simplifies the infrastructure needed to hook them all together and manage the cluster."
HP's ultimate aim is to develop commercially viable data-center solutions that consume up to 89 percent less energy while occupying 94 percent less space because of reductions in cabling, switching and the need for peripheral devices. Data center managers can expect to realize cost reductions of as much as 63 percent compared with traditional server systems, HP said.
HP is initially incorporating Calxeda's EnergyCore chips into Redstone for testing, developing and benchmarking hyperscale applications, Keels said. As the new platform evolves over time, however, it also will integrate Atom processors from Intel as well as energy-efficient chips from other vendors.
The performance trajectory of mobile-device processors such as the ARM Cortex has suddenly introduced a new potential option into the collective server industry mindset, said Forrester Research Vice President Richard Fichera. "These processors are about to expand their footprint with increasing adoption in hyperscale computing environments," Fichera said.
HP's ultra energy-efficient Redstone platform will be open to select customers beginning in the first half of next year, the company said Tuesday.