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HP Project Moonshot: Hyperscale Data Center Servers Launch April 8?

HP Project Moonshot, set for launch April 8, represents Hewlett-Packard's big-time bet on next generation servers -- often called microservers -- built on ARM processors.

The VAR Guy

April 3, 2013

3 Min Read
HP CEO Meg Whitman has bet the next generation data center strategy on Project Moonshot
HP CEO Meg Whitman has bet the next generation data center strategy on Project Moonshot.

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) CEO Meg Whitman is set to unveil HP Moonshot (the company’s next-generation servers) on April 8. HP claims the new ARM-based servers — called microservers by some — will disrupt the market and spark a new generation of data center innovation. The big question: Can HP engage, inspire and and train channel partners to back the Moonshot launch? The answer will likely involve HP’s Pathfinder Program. Here’s why.

In a media invite from HP, the company states:

“On April 8th, HP will once again disrupt the status quo by unveiling HP Moonshot, a new platform that was designed for the data center and built for the planet. Please join us at TheDisruption.com at 8am PT on Monday, April 8 for an online experience featuring presentations from Meg Whitman and Dave Donatelli as well as live Q&A with HP executives, ecosystem partners, customers and others. We hope you’ll join us to see what a new class of server can do.”

Inflection Point

Moonshot comes at a critical time for HP and its channel partners. Cloud computing has put the squeeze on traditional server sales. And after a turbulent 2011 and 2012, HP is trying to rebuild faith in its partner program.

HP claims Project Moonshot is a “multiyear, multiphase program dedicated to designing extreme low-energy server technologies. The project uses HP Converged Infrastructure technology to allow the sharing of resources—including storage, networking, management, power, and cooling—across thousands of servers while reducing power and cooling usage.”

HP says the resulting datacenters will consume up to 89% less energy and 94% less space, while reducing overall costs up to 63% compared with traditional server systems.

Is that too good to be true? Perhaps the answer will begin to emerge April 8.

Three Things to Know

During the launch event, The VAR Guy suspects HP will offer updates on Moonshot’s three core elements. They include:

  1. The HP Redstone Server Development Platform — Featuring extreme low-energy server processors, HP Redstone incorporates more than 2,800 servers in a single rack, reducing cabling, switching, and the need for peripheral devices while delivering a 97% reduction in complexity, HP claims.

  2. The HP Discovery Lab — Each Discovery Lab will let clients experiment, test, and benchmark applications on the HP Redstone platform, as well as on other extreme low-energy platforms and traditional servers, HP asserts.

  3. The HP Pathfinder Program — This ecosystem of industry leaders—including independent software vendors and computing, storage, and networking partners—encourages development of Project Moonshot elements within open industry standards, HP asserts.

This HP blog contains some early Pathfinder chatter.

But competition is surely coming. Quite a few server vendors are developing next-generation servers based on ARM and Intel Atom processors. Dell, for one, is working closely with Canonical (promoter of Ubuntu) and Cloudera (a Hadoop advocate) to develop ARM servers for hyperscale customer environments

In the meantime, April 8 is Moonshot day. Will HP’s latest server launch have big bang impact? The VAR Guy is watching.

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