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HP Set For ‘extreme low-energy’ Server Platform Alternative to x86

DAILYHOSTNEWS, November 2, 2011 – HP unveiled a program yesterday to develop a line of servers that will provide a low-energy alternative to x86 architectures geared mainly for massive-scale web and Cloud applications.

At the center of the initiative, called Project Moonshot, is the idea of highly federated environments, in which thousands of low-energy servers share resources like storage, networking, management, power and cooling. According to HP, the approach promises extreme reduction in space, energy and management requirements.

The hardware element of Project Moonshot is the HP Redstone Server Development Platform designed for testing and proof of concept. The first hardware incarnation of the platform will be powered by EnergyCore ARM Cortex processors by Calxeda.
ARM processor architecture, mostly used in mobile devices, allows for very low-power and low-cost chips compared to x86.

HP expects to make the development platform available in the first half of 2012 while planning to deliver other similar platforms based on Intel Atom and other processors in the future.

Paul Santeler, VP and a general manager at HP’s Hyperscale Business, said the project was the company’s way of anticipating extreme growth in data center capacity it expects the world to deploy by 2015.

“New data center capacity is expected to double between now and then,” he said. “We have to think about new technologies that are going to enable quantum leaps in energy efficiency, cost and space.”

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The Redstone development platform takes advantage of these properties, allowing for thousands of servers per rack. Each of the compute cartridges that make up the platform has four Calxeda EnergyCore SoCs. Each 4U chassis can support 288 such nodes.

HP calls this class of machines “extreme low-energy servers” and says they are most suitable for web-service companies who serve one or two applications to tens of thousands of users.

In addition to low-power processors, the platform saves space, power and management requirements by reducing the number of devices and the amount of cabling required to run thousands of servers through resource federation.

In addition to the server platform, Project Moonshot includes the HP Discovery Lab, which gives clients access to Redstone for experimentation, testing and application benchmarking. The company plans to open the first such lab in Houston in January, followed by additional ones in Europe and Asia.

The third cornerstone of the project is the HP Pathfinder Program, which HP says is dedicated to client discovery efforts across the data center. Through the program, the company encourages software, compute, storage and networking partners to develop elements of Project Moonshot within open industry standards.

HP expects AMD, ARM Holdings, Calxeda, Canonical and Red Hat to become the first group of participants.

About HP
Hewlett-Packard Company commonly referred to as HP, is an American multinational information technology corporation headquartered in Palo Alto, California, USA. HP is one of the world’s largest information technology companies and operates in nearly every country.

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