HP's Project Moonshot aims to make ARM servers mainstream

HP's Project Moonshot aims to make ARM servers mainstream

Summary: 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.

SHARE:

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.

Topics: Processors, Hardware, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Servers

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

8 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • See I Like the idea... Just not who is leading it.

    HP over the past few years has been soooo very unimpressive. It's to the point where anything HP touches one has to give it a side ways glance.

    Pagan jim
    James Quinn
    • RE: HP's Project Moonshot aims to make ARM servers mainstream

      @James Quinn Oh please. Are you a CTO or anyone close to being qualified to render a judgement on the quality of HP server solutions?
      MSFTWorshipper
    • RE: HP's Project Moonshot aims to make ARM servers mainstream

      @James Quinn
      Yeah sure.
      I guess that no company besides Apple is impressive according to you ?[/sarcasm]
      HP has some quite impressive devices especially its mobile workstations and its servers. Moreover HP is the only PC OEM company which correctly adresses subsaharian african markets and for that alone they have my respect.
      timiteh
  • ARM - the way ahead

    Back in the early '90s I had an Acorn RISC PC with both an ARM CPU running RISCOS and an 80486 running Windows. The '486 needed a fan to keep it cool; the ARM didn't, as it was a much more efficient processor design. As I understand Intel now owns part of ARM, why doesn't it put more effort into developing the ARM rather than the power-hungry processors it currently produces, especially when it comes to laptops. The idea of a laptop producing so much heat that it needs a fan is ludicrous. In other equipment where low power is important such as mobile phones, TV set top boxes (where a noisy fan would be intrusive), the ARM is king. When will laptop manufacturers see the light? Yes, I know, Microsoft Windows doesn't run on ARMs - YET! So come on Microsoft, get your act together. If you produce ARM versions of Windows, you could trigger a whole new generation of ARM based laptops with no fan and seriously lower power consumption resulting in extended battery life. I'm astonished Apple hasn't already done this. And Intel could profit too by selling ARMs. There'd be a completely new meaning to "ARMs Dealers"!
    JohnOfStony
    • RE: HP's Project Moonshot aims to make ARM servers mainstream

      @john.foggitt@...
      Intel does not own a part of ARM Holdings PLC. They took out a license for ARM technology. They probably learned their expen$$$ive $600,000,000 lesson from the DEC ALPHA debacle.
      http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0CGN/is_1999_Oct_26/ai_56915218/
      gridcontrol
  • RE: HP's Project Moonshot aims to make ARM servers mainstream

    ARM will make no headway in the server space. IT admins only consider what is really important - like those blue guys singing and dancing and entertaining. Without a marketing strategy like that, ARM will never be a major player.
    HackerJ
  • RE: HP's Project Moonshot aims to make ARM servers mainstream

    Great! But, will only 3GB of active available memory (RAM) be enough to sell this idea to the intended market? Like, no matter how many units per rack; you're just killing your ROI.
    Rob T.
  • why ARM

    Why the sudden hype about ARM processors, when they are just one of MANY kinds of RISC processors. Why not run servers on other alternative cpus like the PowerPC, IBM CellBE/POWER7, Intel Itanium, Sun/Fujitsu SPARC. These have "System On Chip" variants, which have been available for a long long time, and can be licensed to be produced by third parties, and these are true 64bit processors. There appears to be a concerted industry action to push ARM cpus to the forefront and forget about all the alternatives.
    AS360