HP Lands Project Moonshot Micro Servers Using ARM Processors

Mike Vizard
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Hewlett-Packard today moved to make new classes of micro servers based on ARM processors generally available as part of its Project Moonshot initiative.

Susan Blocher, vice president of product management, marketing and business development for HP Moonshot, says two new HP micro servers, including for the first time a 64-bit implementation, are aimed at a broad range of applications, including in-memory databases, high-performance computing, Web applications, virtual desktops and Big Data analytics applications. In the case of Web applications, Blocher says the new HP Moonshot servers essentially provide customers with the ability to deploy Web applications that can easily scale within a single server.

That “Web-in-a-Box approach,” says Blocher, will dramatically lower the total cost of deploying applications that are more dependent on the amount of memory available than the actual speed of any of the individual processors in the system.

HP ProLiant m400To broaden the appeal of these servers, HP today announced it has also inked alliances with Canonical to make its Ubuntu distribution of Linux available on ARM-class servers from HP alongside the IBM Informix database.

While the amount of energy these servers don’t consume is a big plus, Blocher says the other major benefit is the amount of density that can now be brought to the data center. For example, it’s now possible to put as many as 45 servers in a 3u chassis, says Blocher. Couple that with 10G Ethernet adapters on servers, and Blocher says the network bandwidth needed to support micro servers is now more readily available.

The 64-bit HP ProLiant m400 servers are based on the AppliedMicro X-Gene system-on-a-chip (SOC) architecture, while the 32-bit version makes use of a KeyStone architecture-based 664AK2Hx SoCs from Texas Instruments. Based on four ARM Cortex-A15 cores and integrated digital signal processor (DSPs), Blocher says the SOCs from TI are particularly well suited for certain classes of telecommunications and e-commerce applications. Pricing for the 64-bit HP ProLiant m800 starts at $81,651, while pricing for the 32-bit HP ProLiant m400 starts at $58,477.

While HP is not the only vendor building micro servers, HP has clearly made developing this class of servers a much greater priority. HP, in fact, has invested in developing micro servers based on ARM and Intel Atom processors. How many of these servers will wind up in the data center is still anybody’s guess. But the one thing that is for certain is that given the number of applications they are optimized to support, chances are that IT organizations are going to be seeing a lot more of them.

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