HP's new Moonshot server line has been in the works for ten years: the first iteration announced this week is merely an opening note in what is likely to be a chorus of voices championing scalable fabric and CPU-agnostic server architecture.
Known in some circles as a Software Defined server, this type of system is ideally suited for applications that power social media, cloud computing and mobile services; in other words, the parts of the Internet that are growing faster than anything else and will continue to do so. The Moonshot launch represents HP's major effort to make a comeback in the datacenter.
HP isn't kidding when it says Moonshot is CPU-agnostic. Different processors from AMD, AppliedMicro, Calxeda, Intel and Texas Instruments are incorporated -- each for a different type of task. The first one will make use of a Smartphone-compatible Intel Atom S1260 server cartridge supporting 8GB of memory, a SATA drive and two 1Gbps Ethernet ports. Its main use will likely be for web-hosting work. Coming next: additional Moonshot servers destined for analytics, telecommunications, cloud and big data jobs.
Each Moonshot system will support 1,800 servers per rack but only take up one-eighth the space of a traditional server. They'll use up to 89% less energy and cost 77% less than traditional x86 servers (that's starting at $61,875 for the enclosure, HP ProLiant, and an integrated switch) according to HP.
Rachel Rosmarin's technology experience goes back a decade to the dawn of Wi-Fi, smartphones and the Mp3. She has an in-depth knowledge of consumer electronics and has cultivated her love of useful new toys and innovative social software at publications including Tom’s Guide, Forbes, 2.0, Sound & Vision and Mobile Magazine. She holds degrees in Journalism and Science In Human Culture from Northwestern University and is based in Los Angeles.
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