Rethinking Server Design – HP Project Moonshot

For many years, the majority of servers in the world, from those used in supercomputers on the Top500 List to the servers filling Google and Facebook’s massive data centers, started with a motherboard containing two x86 processors. Server manufacturers then piled on one or more network interface cards, disk drives, memory, and a host of other support chips, then packaged up with fans and power supplies in a rack mount or blade form factor. Over the last several years, however, customers workloads, especially in HPC and giant web data centers, increasingly started to look at non-x86 processors with different performance/watt characteristics. A great example in the HPC space is Nvidia’s Tesla series of GPU, with server’s like HP’s ProLiant SL390s adding from 1 to 8 Tesla GPUs to a 2-socket x86 base. Nvidia painted one picture of the future of HPC earlier this year when they announced Project Denver which ultimately will free the GPU from being tied to an x86 processor.

Today, HP announced the next step in the rethinking of server design, Project Moonshot.

The first 3 parts of Project Moonshot are:

  • The HP Redstone server development platform, designed for benchmarking, testing, and proof of concept.
  • The HP Discovery Lab, to experiment, test, and benchmark applications
  • The HP Pathfinder Program, an ecosystem of industry leading partners

    Using ARM System On a Chip (SOC) technology, the Redstone platform packs 288 single socket servers into a single 4RU chassis, delivering extreme energy efficiency for a wide range of web workloads. While the fact that the Redstone development platform is based on ARM processor technology is interesting, the focus of Moonshot is not just about ARM, it is about rethinking server design from the ground up, for scalability, for performance, and for energy efficiency.
    Visit the Project Moonshot page on HP’s web site for more info and to keep up to date as HP rethinks server design, again!

  • About Marc Hamilton

    Marc Hamilton – Vice President, Solutions Architecture and Engineering, NVIDIA. At NVIDIA, the Visual Computing Company, Marc leads the worldwide Solutions Architecture and Engineering team, responsible for working with NVIDIA’s customers and partners to deliver the world’s best end to end solutions for professional visualization and design, high performance computing, and big data analytics. Prior to NVIDIA, Marc worked in the Hyperscale Business Unit within HP’s Enterprise Group where he led the HPC team for the Americas region. Marc spent 16 years at Sun Microsystems in HPC and other sales and marketing executive management roles. Marc also worked at TRW developing HPC applications for the US aerospace and defense industry. He has published a number of technical articles and is the author of the book, “Software Development, Building Reliable Systems”. Marc holds a BS degree in Math and Computer Science from UCLA, an MS degree in Electrical Engineering from USC, and is a graduate of the UCLA Executive Management program.
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