HP Launches New Intel-Based Moonshot Servers

The new systems, including the first powered by Intel Xeon chips, are optimized for such uses as application delivery and Web infrastructures.

HP Moonshot m710

Hewlett-Packard is adding to its lineup of highly dense and power-efficient Moonshot servers, including the first one to feature Xeon processors from Intel.

The company on Oct. 23 unveiled two new Moonshot compute modules and four new solutions optimized for specific workloads, including application delivery, video transcoding, Web infrastructure-in-a-box and managed Web hosting.

The new offerings are part of HP's efforts to offer a broad range of Moonshot systems that are optimized for particular applications, and that are powered not only by x86-based chips from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices, but also by systems-on-a-chip (SoCs) built on ARM's 64-bit ARMv8-A architecture.

The goal is to offer application-specific compute capabilities on a choice of platforms in small, power-efficient compute modules that increase the performance-per-watt available to customers, according to HP officials. The tech giant first introduced the idea of Moonshot in 2011, with much of the attention being drawn to officials' promise to leverage ARM-based 64-bit chips.

So far, most of the Moonshot servers are powered by Intel processors, though HP in September began filling out its ARM-based server portfolio with Moonshot compute modules running on Applied Micro's 64-bit X-Gene SoC and Texas Instruments' 32-bit 66AK2Hx SoCs based on the Keystone architecture.

Moonshot systems are essentially compute cartridges or modules that fit into a 4.3U (7.5-inch) chassis. The modules share such components as storage, networking, cooling and management, which are housed in the chassis.

"What Moonshot has enabled is, rather than look at general-purpose processing—where you have one single type of processor that tries to deliver against all of your workload—you specialize the processor so that we only consume the amount of power or the amount of energy and the performance that we need specific to that workload," Martin Fink, executive vice president and CTO at HP, said in September during the Citi 2014 Global Technology Conference. "By specializing the world, we have the ability to deliver much more compute power and doing it at a significantly lower energy envelope."

Businesses are embracing the message, according to Gerald Kleyn, director of hyperscale server hardware R&D at HP.

"When we can bring our customers specific solutions and talk about how those can change business results and bring new levels of performance … that really resonates with customers," Kleyn told eWEEK.

HP is offering two Moonshot cartridges based on its new ProLiant m710 servers that are aimed at improving application delivery and video transcoding. The m710 is powered by Intel's Xeon E3-1284L v3 processor, which integrates the chip maker's Iris Pro Graphics P5200 GPU.

HP is working with Citrix Systems on the solution optimized for application delivery in an increasingly mobile and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) world, where more employees are doing more business on such devices as smartphones and tablets, according to Kleyn. It leverages Citrix's XenApp technology, which enables workers to use their Microsoft Windows apps as secure mobile services in a virtual desktop environment. Employees can use whatever device they want, but the information is not kept on the device; instead, it's stored behind the corporate firewall.