Hewlett-Packard has launched Project Moonshot, an effort that could make low-power ARM servers more mainstream. HP's obvious risk is that it could annoy Intel, a key partner for its Itanium effort.
Project Moonshot consists of a lab, server development platform and ecosystem. If successful, HP will enable its customers to kick the tires of ARM servers. HP said in a statement that the server development program---the HP Redstone Server Development Platform---will use Calxeda's EnergyCore ARM Cortex processors.
HP noted that future Redstone servers will use Intel Atom processors and others. HP's Redstone servers are proof of concept today, but can incorporate 2,800 servers in a rack (statement, backgrounder).
If this set-up sounds familiar that's because Sea Micro is taking a similar approach. SeaMicro uses Atom chips today, but ARM will be in play going forward. The result is the same: High powered servers with low energy consumption. Also see: SeaMicro ups Atom-based server ante: 6 dual core servers in 5 x 11 space
For HP, Project Moonshot may be a way to diversify and bolster sales of its low-power servers. Intel will be a supplier, but not the only one in the low-power race.
HP plans to wrap its low-power servers into its converged infrastructure and green technologies. The promise is that customers can cut power while boosting data center capacity.
The components of Project Moonshot go like this:
- The Redstone server platform.
- A lab that allows customers to experiment, test and benchmark applications on the Redstone server. The first lab will open in Houston in January with more planned in Europe and Asia.
- A program to allow partners to develop technologies to go along with Project Moonshot technologies. Initial partners include AMD, ARM Holdings, Calxeda, Canonical and Red Hat.
The risk here is that HP could strain its relationship with Intel, which has supported the company as it battles Oracle over Itanium support. ARM servers could prove to be a big threat to Intel's core business. On the other hand, HP needs to be moving ahead. Project Moonshot, a multiyear effort, is a step in the right direction.