The server includes 45 tiny processor boards, or what HP refers to as cartridges, in a chassis that's 4.3 rack units, or about 7.5 inches (19 cm), high. That's the same number of cartridges as the existing Moonshot. But Avoton increases the core count over Centerton from two to eight, and it has two memory controllers, which improves memory bandwidth and allowed HP to attach 32GB of memory with each cartridge, Kleyn said.
Most customers run Linux on Moonshot, but HP plans to support Windows in the future, as well as hypervisors, he said. The primary fabric is Ethernet, and a new cartridge, known as an m300, is routed with up to eight individual Ethernet lanes.
The new Moonshot system will be on sale by the end of the year, Kleyn said. HP wouldn't give the price, but the first Moonshot was listed for US$62,000.
HP is working on a new cartridge design that will accommodate four processors, for a total of 180 servers in the Moonshot chassis, Kleyn said.
About 50 Avoton systems are in development altogether, Intel's Bryant said. Most are network servers, with around a dozen compute servers and a dozen "cold storage" systems.
Dell sees cold storage as a big opportunity for Avoton. It refers to storage that's accessed only rarely, but that needs to be available fairly quickly when it is required. The example most often cited is photos uploaded to Facebook.
Low-power processors such as Avoton are ideal for such workloads, because they can power down almost completely but have enough performance to serve up data when it's required, said Drew Schulke, global marketing director for Dell's data center solutions business.
He showed a system from Dell that's one rack-unit high and was running 48TB of storage off of a single Avoton processor.
Social networking sites are the tip of the spear for cold storage, but it may be relevant for other businesses too, Schulke said. A bank could use it to let customers view images of checks that were scanned several years ago, for instance.
Taiwan's Wiwynn was also showing an Avoton-based cold storage system. The fact that Avoton is still x86 is useful, because it makes it easy for customers to move software from higher-level storage tiers down to cold storage, said Paul Ju, a senior vice president with Wiwynn.
Still, like Dell and some of the other vendors here, Wiwynn is also developing storage systems with ARM-based processors, Ju said.