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HP Touts Low Energy Servers With Project Moonshot

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A new industry program from HP is promising to drive the advancement of low-energy server technology

With the rising cost of power an increasing concern for most IT managers, a new industry programme promises to help after HP unveiled its ‘Project Moonshot.’

The programme is made up of ia new server development platform, a customer discovery lab and partner ecosystem. This, HP promises, will help customers significantly reduce their complexity, energy use and costs.

HP’s Project Moonshot (as expected) works with HP Converged Infrastructure technology to allow the sharing of resources, including storage, networking, management, power and cooling, across a wide range of servers.

Low Energy Servers

Specifically, the company said the Project is designed to fuel the advancement of low-energy server technology, while promoting industry collaboration to drive advancement in the field of  “hyperscale” computing environments such as cloud services and on-demand computing.

And HP is making some pretty bold claims about the potential energy savings that could be achieved.

“Through these efforts, data centre efficiencies are expected to reach new heights for select workloads and applications, consuming up to 89 percent less energy and 94 percent less space, while reducing overall costs up to 63 percent compared to traditional server systems,” HP claimed.

“For companies with thousands of servers delivering web services, social media and simple content delivery applications, Project Moonshot is designed to deliver improved simplicity while achieving energy and cost savings never before possible,” it said.

ProLiant Upgrade

Scratching a little deeper it seems that the Project Moonshot infrastructure is an extension of the HP ProLiant brand of servers, which incorporates traditional x86 processors from Intel and AMD.

“Companies with hyperscale environments are facing a crisis in capacity that requires a fundamental change at the architectural level,” said Paul Santeler, vice president and general manager, Hyperscale Business Unit, Industry Standard Servers and Software, HP.

“HP has a strong track record of leading market transitions that enable our clients to stay ahead of the technology curve, maximise their ability to innovate and speed their time to market of new services while reducing costs and energy use,” he added.

Expected Move

The news of Project Moonshot was actually revealed last week, when reports began emerging that HP would reportedly become the first major OEM to adopt ARM-based processors for some of its servers.

This was according to Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal, which quoted unnamed people close to the situation. It said that HP was partnering with Calxeda to develop some data centre servers powered by ARM chips.

And this seems to be exactly the case, after HP officially revealed that its HP Redstone Server Development Platform will be the first platform of low-energy servers that will initially incorporate Calxeda EnergyCore ARM Cortex processors.

HP said that future Redstone versions will include Intel Atom-based processors as well as others.

ARM/Intel Rivalry

According to the company, HP Redstone is designed for testing and proof of concept. It incorporates more than 2,800 servers in a single rack, reducing cabling, switching and the need for peripheral devices, and delivering a 97 percent reduction in complexity, the company said.

The initial HP Redstone platform is expected to be available in limited volumes to select customers in the first half of next year.

ARM executives have been vocal for a while now about their plans to move up the ladder and into PCs and low-power servers.

Indeed, ARM CEO Warren East late last year said he expected to begin chipping away at Intel’s server dominance in 2014. ARM executives argue that enterprises – particularly those with large and dense data centres – will gravitate toward more energy-efficient solutions, a strength of ARM’s designs.

Intel for its part has been aggressive in trying to break into the mobile device space, particularly smartphones and tablets.