HP's Latest Moonshot Server Armed With Intel Avoton SoCs
The performance improvements in Intel's new C2000 chips will broaden what HP's M300 server modules will be able to do.Hewlett-Packard officials made headlines in 2011 when they announced Project Moonshot, an effort to create ultra-low-power servers that would include systems powered by ARM-based chips, a surprising move considering the tech giant's long history with Intel. However, HP in April announced the first Moonshot server modules, which were running on Intel's S1200 "Centerton" Atom system-on-a-chip (SoC). Centerton was designed specifically for the burgeoning density-optimized microserver space and released in December 2012. Now Intel officials say the next-generation Atom data center chips—the C2000 family, once dubbed "Avoton" for servers and "Rangeley" for networking products—are shipping to systems makers, and HP officials were at the Sept. 4 event to talk about their M300 system, the latest Moonshot server module that will initially run on Intel technology. HP was one of dozens of data center system makers to talk about new designs based on the C2000 chips, including 11 vendors who are aiming for new Avoton-based dense servers. Some of those vendors include Dell, SuperMicro, NEC and Penguin Computing. Dell's Copper initiative also calls for ARM-based SoCs to power some microservers. At the C2000 launch, Dell officials announced the DCS 1300 platform built for cold storage workloads.
Intel officials have said the new 22-nanometer C2000 Avoton chips, based on the new "Silvermont" microarchitecture, will offer as much as seven times the performance and six times the power efficiency of the Centerton SoCs. Some versions—there are 13 in all—will offer as many as eight cores.