HP's Moonshot cadence: Intel's C2000 on deck, ARM 'fairly quickly'

HP's next Moonshot will feature Intel's C2000 family of processors, but systems based on AMD and ARM aren't too far behind.

Hewlett-Packard's next installment of its Moonshot server will include a second dose of Intel-powered microservers, but ARM-based systems aren't too far behind.

Gerald Kleyn, director of platform engineering hyperscale computing at HP, said another version of Moonshot will revolve around Intel's C2000 family of processors. The family, dubbed Avoton, was launched on Wednesday.

HP launched its first Moonshot server , an architecture that is processor agnostic and sets the stage for a variety of specialized systems, with Intel's Atom in April.

HP's Moonshot architecture has cartridges and software that make it processor agnostic. The upshot is the servers can be Intel today and ARM tomorrow.

Intel's new system on a chip will move beyond simple tasks such as serving static Web pages. Kleyn said he expects the new Moonshot to be used for big data applications as well as Web hosting. Intel Atom microserver SoCs are able to address more memory than competing 32-bit ARM-based SoCs thanks to Centerton and Avoton being built on 64-bit CPUs.

As noted by Nick Heath in his Intel coverage  on Wednesday:

HP will be releasing at least two further Moonshot server cartridges in November, including cartridges based on chips not designed by Intel. Earlier in the year HP discussed plans to release an AMD-based cartridge with integrated APUs (accelerated processing units) focused on gaming and video transcoding, as well as a quad-processor cartridge using a 32-bit ARM Cortex A9-based Calxeda SoC that can scale up to 1,800 server nodes per rack.

The real microserver story begins when HP starts rolling out ARM-based systems. ARM rules mobile computing and has potential in the data center because of the architecture's low power usage. What ARM lacks in the enterprise is distribution. HP will change that distribution deficit in a hurry.

Given that reality, it's no surprise that Intel is aggressive with its hyperscale server strategy. "It's good to see Intel aggressive in this space," said Kleyn. However, Kleyn said ARM-based Moonshot systems will be launching "fairly quickly" and are up and running in HP's discovery centers for customers in Houston and Grenoble, France. "Customers have access to those systems," he said.

HP's strategy is to continue to test the ARM ecosystem and "actively get ready," said Kleyn. HP wants to make sure it has everything buttoned down before making an ARM push.

When HP's ARM Moonshot systems become commonplace the real server games begin.