updated 03:35 pm EDT, Tue November 1, 2011
Promises 94% smaller footprint and 90% less energy
HP today announced Project Moonshot, a new industry initiative to help customers reduce complexity, energy use and costs. The program has three components: a new server development platform, a customer discovery lab, and partner program that includes AMD, ARM Holdings, Calxeda, Canonical and Red Hat. The server development platform, code-named Redstone, will initially use ARM processors and add Intel Atom processors in the future.
Redstone is designed for testing and as a proof of concept. It incorporates more than 2,800 servers in a single rack to reduce cabling, switching, peripheral device requirements. The goal is to create a server platform that will use a 94 percent smaller footprint and consume almost 90 percent less energy than current server configurations.
To achieve this, HP intends to use Calxeda EnergyCore ARM-based SoC (Server-on-a-Chip) processors. The HP-designed system contains 288 Calxeda SoCs in a single 7 inch chassis. A single rack of the configuration could potentially deliver the throughput of 700 traditional servers. HP also plans to incorporate Intel Atom processors into the architecture at some point, but has not provided any details.
The initial HP Redstone platform is expected to be available in limited volumes to select customers in the first half of next year.
Mentioning ARM is a blow to Intel. Although HP has been willing to explore non-Intel chips, it has usually shipped primarily with Intel and ventured off only to consider AMD chips that use similar architecture. Going to ARM underscores the problems Intel has had getting truly low-power processors and could see companies cut the company out of the loop for major deals. The plans go on to give ARM more credibility for heavy-duty tasks, not just mobile devices like tablets, and could give HP more freedom to reduce its dependency on one chip design for much of its work.