HP Moonshot Servers Plant Flag In Cloud-Based Big Data Future

The folks at HP seemed very excited Monday for their launch of Moonshot, a new line of servers that the company claims will help the growing Web handle the demand of “the next 20 billion devices,” as many at the presentation put it.

HP Moonshot is a new line of servers that promise greater power and efficiency, as a parade of executives throughout the announcement stressed will be vital to the growing cloud computing environment.

The principle behind Moonshot is the ability to pack as many Intel Atom system-on-a-chip cards as possible into a small space, and having the server rack give off as little heat and consume as little energy as possible.

“On April 8, 2013, HP unveiled the world’s first commercially available HP Moonshot system, delivering compelling new infrastructure economics by using up to 89 percent less energy, 80 percent less space and costing 77 percent less, compared to traditional servers,” according to the HP Moonshot press kit. “Today’s mega data centers are nearing a breaking point where further growth is restricted due to the current economics of traditional infrastructure. HP Moonshot servers are a first step organizations can take to address these constraints.”

One of the points repeatedly made by the parade of executives on display is Moonshot’s place in an HP legacy of innovation, especially in the server market. HP was the first to launch servers with the x86 family of processors that has dominated the past two decades of computing. Now HP hopes to continue that legacy with Moonshot.

Larry Dignan, for CNET, said Monday that the HP Moonshot announcement is a gamble for the company with the largest stake in the current market. And he wonders whether it will succeed in holding onto that stake in the future.

“The big question for HP is how long the Moonshot architecture will take to proliferate,” Dignan wrote. “Blade servers didn't take off immediately. Today, Moonshot is for large installations, but over time HP expects the architecture to broaden to other use cases at smaller companies. The reality is that few enterprises would qualify for a hyperscale server treatment. As HP rolls out systems for workloads such as analytics, genomics and financial services that equation will change.”

HP, in talking about the coming necessity for Moonshot, repeatedly referenced the looming brontobyte, one quintillion gigabytes or a one with 27 zeroes behind bytes of data. Soon the global cloud will exceed that size, and HP wants Moonshot there to help handle it.

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