HP MoonShot – Hardware is catching up with the cloud

HP is taking cloud computing to the next level with their MoonShot servers. Cloud isn’t just software anymore.

Now I don’t know if HP MoonShot can solve all of today’s datacenter issues, but it surely is a start. Moonshot is an interesting concept HP is taking Intel Atom S1260 processors, on a bunch of micro PC sized cards and put them all in one chassis. One MoonShot chassis is capable of housing 45 servers, that’s just incredible. HP is claiming that the MoonShot servers consume 89% less energy than a traditional servers. Considering each of the 45 servers in the chassis are pulling straight DC from the chassis and each individual server is not running an 800W power supply that is only 60% efficient I would think it’s possible. In fact the Moonshot chassis takes 2-4 1200W power supplies that are 94% efficient. Not only are you powering 45 servers with these power supplies, but the chassis also houses two Ethernet switch modules and two uplinks with SFPs.
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Something I found really interesting is they are calling it the “Software Defined Server”. I’m not really sure what a “Software Defined Server” is, but I would like to know their angle on this. It’s very interesting considering VMware has a very large strategy around the “Software Defined DataCetner”. Is HP just piggy backing on the VMware marketing strategy? Is “Software Defined” the next big buzz word?

What do the Moonshots mean for virtualization? Today many companies struggle to get 45 virtual machines on one server, and HP is packing in 45 physical server cards in one chassis. The Atom based servers only support 8GB of Memory today making them a far stretch for virtualization hosts. Will more companies keep their servers on physical at the promise of a lesser cost? Less rack space, less cabling, less power connections as well as consumption means significantly less operating cost, and if you remove the cost of the hypervisor it could mean even bigger savings.

One thing is for sure with organizations pushing for self-service regardless of whether the server is physical or virtual enterprises are still going to need VMware vCloud Automation Center to automate the lifecycle of these beasts. Speaking of which I would love to get access to one of these to do some test integrations with vCloud Automation Center.

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