SAN JOSE, Calif. – Hewlett-Packard rolled out the first version of its Project Moonshot, a processor-agnostic server which can use DSPs, FPGAs and GPUs as well as X86 and ARM SoCs. It initially uses an Intel Atom-based processor, but will come in versions sporting Texas Instruments’ Keystone SoCs as well chips from AMD, Applied Micro and Calxeda before the end of the year.
HP hopes to cover the waterfront with its new 1500-series chassis, a 4.3U system which can pack up to 45 processor or storage cartridges. It aims to deliver a wide range of configurations optimized for a variety of workloads.
For example, TI's Keystone SoCs will run an undisclosed but existing operating system on its four ARM A15 cores and handle security, seismic and other apps on its embedded DSPs. HP is also working with SRC Computers (Colorado Springs, Colo.), which has its own line of processors based on Altera Arria and Stratix FPGAs.
Company executives called Moonshot a software-defined system, claiming it marks the next big wave in server design. They claim it draws 89 percent less energy, uses 80 percent less space and costs 77 percent less than HP’s current high volume server, the DL380.
Over the next few years, data centers will need as many as 10 million more servers, costing up to $20 billion and drawing as much power as two million US homes, said Meg Whitman, HP’s chief executive, speaking in an online video.“We’ve reached a point where the space, power and cost demands of traditional technology are no longer sustainable,” she said.
With its announcement, HP aims to maintain its position as the market leader in servers amid potentially disruptive shifts. A wide variety of ARM-based server SoCs are expected to emerge starting in 2014, and graphics processors are gaining traction for some highly parallel applications.
HP's first Moonshot system packs up to 45 processor or storage cartridges.
HP announced in June
that Intel’s Atom-based Centerton, aka the 2-GHz Atom S1260, will be the first cartridge available. The system also will support 32- and 64-bit ARM cartridges, the first of which could be available within six months.
In an online press event, HP showed a four-chip Calxeda cartridge. The company first announced Project Moonshot showing a Calxeda-based proof-of-concept design in 2011. It opened a lab letting customers try the ARM-based system as well as other prototypes that now have a total of 50 beta testers.