HP has unveiled the second generation of its Moonshot servers aimed at hyper-scale workloads, cramming a large number of power-efficient servers into a small space while enabling the deployment of application-specific hardware customised for specific workloads.
Announced today, the new platform comprises a HP Moonshot 1500 enclosure capable of containing up to 45 cartridge modules, each a self-contained server, enabling a typical datacentre rack to hold up to 450 servers.
The cartridges available at launch are based on Intel Atom S1200 series processors, which Intel launched in December 2012 to address what it calls the microserver category, where a high server density is required for web hosting, cloud and scale-out applications.
However, HP said it will also enable customers to plug in cartridges optimised for the specific workloads that they are running, and will have cartridges with ARM-based chips from Calxeda, as well as newer Intel chips with more processor cores.
HP said that Project Moonshot was aimed at addressing the massive growth in datacentre capacity that was being driven by smartphones, the web and social networking.
"We're now on a path that's not sustainable," said HP chief executive Meg Whitman, who claimed that new datacentres spanning Manhattan and consuming enough energy to 10 million homes will have to be constructed to meet demand, unless a new approach is taken.
The new Moonshot platform addresses this by consuming 89 percent less energy and fitting into 80 percent less space, HP claims.
"We've taken all the parts of a server, shrunk them and put them in something this size," said Paul Santeler, vice president of HP's Hyperscale business, showing off a module about the size of a book.
Meanwhile, the chassis contains "everything that supports the server, everything that can be shared, including the power, cooling, fans, management network, Ethernet, and storage fabric," Santeler said.
This includes hot-pluggable power supplies, common with HP's Proliant servers, plus stackable switches removing the need for a top-of-rack switch.
A HP Moonshot enclosure with 45 Atom S1200 servers and a switch will cost from €50,605, according to HP, with availability in North America now and EMEA next month.
However, HP said it will have cartridges later this year based on Intel's upcoming Avoton Atom chips, which will boast up to eight cores rather than the dual cores in the Atom S1200.
Meanwhile, HP said it will be able to offer cartridges with the number of CPU cores, memory, and storage optimised for specific applications workloads, rather than customers having to rely on general-purpose servers.
This is what HP calls software defined servers, as "the software will define what the server looks like," according to Santeler.
Also on the roadmap are quad cartridges with four separate servers on one module, enabling up to 180 servers per rack.
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