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HP's Moonshot server now packs 64-bit ARM chips

James Niccolai | Sept. 30, 2014
Customers can now buy Moonshot with Applied Micro's ARM-based X-Gene system-on-chip, in a server aimed at customers running web caching applications such as memecache, as well as high performance computing workloads that require high throughput.

Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, thinks ARM processors, as well as new system designs like Moonshot, have a lot of potential. Data centers are hitting capacity limits and they'll be forced to experiment with more energy- and space-efficient platforms, he said.

But they're not for any workload. "Moonshot is for people with very clear ideas about specific use cases," he said.

The new Moonshot systems pack a lot of compute power in a small space.

The chassis for all Moonshot systems is 4.3 rack units (7.5 inches) tall and can house up to 45 processor boards, or what HP calls "cartridges," with shared cooling, network, storage and other components to maximize density. Each cartridge is basically its own mini server.

The X-Gene cartridge, called the Proliant m400, comes with up to 64GB memory attached, as well as a small form factor SSD at 120GB or 480GB, and a dual-port 10 Gigabit network interface card from Melanox -- the first time HP has included 10GB Ethernet with Moonshot. An m400 Moonshot system starts at about $58,000, including 15 cartridges, one networking switch and three power supplies, HP said.

The m800 system using Texas Instruments' 32-bit Keystone based system-on-chip starts at $81,651 with 15 cartridges, one networking switch, 32GB of m.2 storage and 4 power supplies.

Both the m400 and the m800 are immediately available, HP said.

 

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