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HP Rolls Out Next-Gen Moonshot Server System
HP Rolls Out Next-Gen Moonshot Server System

By Jennifer LeClaire
April 8, 2013 1:58PM

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The HP Moonshot system is the second-generation server from HP's Project Moonshot. HP engineered Moonshot to address the IT challenges created by social, cloud, mobile and Big Data. HP Moonshot servers are built from chips more commonly found in smartphones and tablets, which allow the servers to deliver reduced energy use, high density and lower cost.
 



You might say Hewlett-Packard is shooting for the moon. HP has rolled out its so-called Moonshot system. The new servers use up to 89 percent less energy, take up 80 percent less space and cost 77 percent less, according to HP.

HP is aiming directly at modern mega data centers with its latest innovation. HP said today's mega data centers are nearing a breaking point -- and further growth is stymied due to the current economics of traditional infrastructure. HP Moonshot is offered as a solution.

"With nearly 10 billion devices connected to the Internet and predictions for exponential growth, we've reached a point where the space, power and cost demands of traditional technology are no longer sustainable," said Meg Whitman, president and CEO of HP. "HP Moonshot marks the beginning of a new style of IT that will change the infrastructure economics and lay the foundation for the next 20 billion devices."

Shrinking Technology

The HP Moonshot system is the second-generation server from HP's Project Moonshot. HP engineered this new server class to address the IT challenges created by social, cloud, mobile and Big Data. HP Moonshot servers are built from chips more commonly found in smartphones and tablets, which allow the servers to deliver reduced energy use and a high-density footprint, all at a significantly lower cost.

Under the hood, the new server system consists of the HP Moonshot 1500 enclosure and application-optimized HP ProLiant Moonshot servers. These servers will offer processors from multiple partners, including Intel, AMD, Calxeda, Texas Instruments, and Applied Micro, each targeting a specific workload. HP Moonshot supports up to 1,800 servers per rack.

"Faced with constraints for energy efficiency and analytic compute capacity to support world-leading geosciences research, we absolutely require technological innovations from leading companies like HP," said Chris Hill a principal research engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and co-chair of the research and education subcommittee for Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing. "Innovations such as HP Moonshot are providing us with confidence that infrastructure can continue to scale out to support fundamentally insatiable requirements -- all with less energy, a smaller footprint, increased integration and lower cost."

Overblown Promises?

Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, told us the bottom line is HP has introduced an extremely serviceable, if very specialized, server system.

"It's built for particular types of business workloads, like social media or Web," King said. "In other words, fairly light-duty applications where a business would want to deploy a greater number of servers in a way that is very efficient from an energy consumption and central management standpoint."

That said, King noted that HP's claim of "only-vendor" status in the space is somewhat overblown. He pointed to AMD's SeaMicro, which built Atom-based servers that accomplish a similar feat. Dell also announced a project last year, Dell Copper, that uses ARM-processor technology.

"Overall, HP is to be applauded, but their claims of uniqueness are stretching the truth a bit," King said. "But that doesn't detract from what they've accomplished here."

The HP Moonshot system is now available in the United States and Canada, and will be available in Europe, Asia and Latin America beginning next month. Pricing begins at $61,875 for the enclosure, 45 HP ProLiant Moonshot servers and an integrated switch.
 

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