HP to announce Project Moonshot hyperscale servers next week

HP says the Project Moonshot servers will save money, space and energy

By , IDG News Service |  Hardware

Hewlett-Packard next week will unveil a class of hyperscale servers as part of Project Moonshot, the company's attempt to build densely packed low-power servers that can scale performance quickly.

The company on Tuesday morning sent out invites for a webcast event on April 8 to unveil the Project Moonshot platform. HP's CEO Meg Whitman and Dave Donatelli, executive vice president and general manager of the company's enterprise group, will participate in the event.

The launch of Project Moonshot will be the culmination of close to one-and-a-half years of HP's experimentation in low-power server designs for hyperscale environments. Project Moonshot was first unveiled in November 2011 with an ARM server design, and later expanded to include a dense server with Intel's low-power Atom processors. The prototype servers were available to specific customers for testing, and release of the final products was delayed multiple times.

HP hopes to reduce power and space requirements with the new servers, which are aimed at large data centers that handle Internet traffic and cloud implementations. Companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon have built large data centers and are adding thousands of servers by the day to handle the growing number of Web and Internet requests.

With the low-power servers, HP is placing preference on faster delivery of information rather than processing power. Whitman last month said that the Project Moonshot platform would use 89 percent less energy, 94 percent less space and cost 63 percent less than a traditional x86 server environment. Traditional x86 server environments use the more power-hungry Intel Xeon or Advanced Micro Devices Opteron processors, which have more processing power and are seen as being more suitable for data-intensive workloads such as databases.

HP, in a case study, said a Moonshot server installation occupying one-half a rack, priced at US$1.2 million and drawing 9.9 kilowatts, could replace an installation of 1,600 servers priced at $3.3 million and drawing 91 kilowatts per hour.

The products will be an addition to HP's current server lineup, which includes the ProLiant Gen8 tower, rack and blade servers and the mission-critical NonStop servers. The company also builds modular data centers and workload-specific servers for implementations tied to databases and cloud.

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