HP adds two ARM-based servers to Moonshot portfolio


Susan Blocher, VP of Product Management and Business Development, HP Moonshot, HP

By Mark Cox

HP has announced the expansion of its Moonshot portfolio with two new ARM architecture-based models, including the first enterprise-class 64-bit ARM-based server. In order to stimulate ARM-based development, HP also announced a new HP ProLiant Moonshot ARM-64 Developer Program, which includes a production-ready platform that lets software developers develop, test and port applications to the 64- bit ARM-based server.

“In February, we launched two Moonshot servers for desktop infrastructure and web hosting,” said Susan Blocher, VP of Product Management and Business Development, HP Moonshot, HP. “Now we will be announcing two ARM-based servers.”

Blocher emphasized that Moonshot’s objective has always been to deliver workload or application optimized solution, designed from the silicon up, in an extremely dense format that puts up to 180 microservers in a chassis. One of the new servers, the 64-bit HP ProLiant m400, amplifies that density further with the first enterprise ARM server on the market, by combining Moonshot’s density with ARM technology’s high level of energy-efficient processing.

“The m400’s processor enables us to deliver twice the memory of a standard x86, and because Moonshot itself has four times the density, it’s great for specific workloads like web caching,” Blocher said.

The ProLiant m400 benefits from extensive development work with Applied Micro Circuits Corporation and Canonical. It is based on the X-Gene Server on a Chip from Applied Micro and Canonical’s Ubuntu operating system, and the consequent power, cooling and space reductions provide up to 35 per cent reduction in total cost of ownership compared to rack servers.

“I believe this can definitely be more than a niche solution, but its’ focus is on particular workloads to quantify breakthrough economics, which is critical for Moonshot,” Blocher said. “That balance of memory to IO defines the use case. This is for any application that needs a lot of memory and a lot of throughput. If you don’t need that, you won’t want this. It’s for high throughput computing.”

The other new offering is the HP ProLiant m800, a 32-bit ARM-based server with the KeyStone architecture-based 66AK2Hx SoC from Texas Instruments. It features four ARM Cortex-A15 cores and integrated digital signal processor, Canonical, and HP 2D Torus Mesh Fabric in combination with Serial Rapid I/O to deliver three times more bandwidth and 90 per cent low latency data throughput. It is optimized, and best suited for, real-time data processing of high volume, complex data, such as pattern analysis.

“Being SOC with digital signal processor capability is especially compelling for the telco industry, and anything that can leverage digital signal processing,” Blocher said.  “PayPal is using this in their Systems Intelligence project, where they take a lot of transaction data, translate it into a digital signal and do high speed analytics on it.”

To grow the ARM ecosystem, HP is also announcing the HP ProLiant Moonshot ARM-64 Developer Program, part of the HP AllianceOne program. Through this program, developers can design fully-featured software on an ARM-based 64-bit system by remotely accessing the HP ProLiant Moonshot Discovery Lab, so they can test and port code stacks and solutions to the ARM architecture.

“The success of the ARM architecture will really be wrapped around the ecosystem, and ISVs are an essential success factor here, so we are creating a developer program to provide remote access to the  Moonshot ARM 64 platform,” Blocher said. “It’s like a timeshare on virtual access to our hardware.” This goes live November 1.

Blocher said solution providers will also see strong opportunities in the ARM Moonshots.

“They are strong channel markets because we definitely see the integration as the key, and that will drive partner business,” she said. “The value proposition is clear, the TCO and economics are breakthrough, and we are also seeing repatriation from public cloud environments because of their higher fees.”

The two new ProLiants are available now.

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