HP Unveils ARM-Based Moonshot Servers
The m400 comes with Canonical's Ubuntu Linux operating system, and with its power, cooling and space efficiencies, reduces the total cost of ownership over rack servers by 35 percent, according to HP officials. HP also is unveiling the ProLiant m800, powered by 32-bit 66AK2Hx SoCs from Texas Instruments based on the Keystone architecture, and which include four ARM Cortex-A15 cores, integrated digital signal processors (DSPs) and HP's 2D Torus Mesh Fabric. It also comes with the Ubuntu OS. The system is targeted at real-time data processing of high-volume and complex data, such as pattern analysis, according to HP officials. The vendor also is looking to ramp up the ecosystem around ARM-based server SoCs with a developer program in which developers will be able to access an ARM-based 64-bit system housed at HP's ProLiant Moonshot Discovery Lab. By accessing the system via the Internet, developers will be able to test and port code and solutions to the ARM architecture. While the horse race between Intel and ARM may get much of the attention from HP's announcement, the real key for enterprises and service providers continues to be the move by system and component makers to more heterogeneous computing, with systems running a mix of technologies and aimed at particular workloads, according to Moor Insights and Strategy's Moorhead.In addition, when Intel introduces new generations of chips—such as the Xeon E5-2600 v3, rolled out in September—it offers as many as two-dozen versions with varying capabilities in such areas as frequency and memory to enable greater optimization for particular workloads. Intel also this month unveiled its Xeon D, the first SoC in the Xeon chip family, and continues to develop custom chips for particular customers. The result of all this choice in the data center is that end users can more easily get servers that are optimized for their applications, which is a significant win for enterprises as they deal with rapidly changing workloads, Moorhead said.
He pointed to HP's use of not only ARM chips in Moonshot systems, but also of Intel and AMD silicon, and the promise of more systems leveraging other vendor chips on the way. Chip makers like Applied Micro and Texas Instruments are including DSPs integrated into their SoCs, system makers are offering servers that use accelerators like GPUs from AMD and Nvidia and x86 Xeon Phi coprocessors from Intel to increase performance and power efficiencies, and Intel is offering a range of features—such as its Iris GPUs, QPI bus, AES-NI encryption and field-programmable gate arrays (FGPAs) –to broaden the application-specific capabilities of its silicon.