HP squeezes 1,152 ARM cores in Calxeda-based 4U server

By Richi Jennings (@richi ) - November 2, 2011.

3... 2... 1... Here comes Redstone: lifting off from HP's Project Moonshot.

HP Redstone chassis
Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:NPQ) has unveiled its ultra-dense, low-power ARM-based server line -- codenamed Redstone, the first product of the Project Moonshot business. Up to 288 Calxeda quad-core SoC chips in a 4U chassis. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers count the cores.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: The Stallman Dialogues...

    Agam Shah reports:

EnergyCore...is being used in Hewlett-Packard's first ARM server design...[to] be released in the first half of next year. ... Calxeda's chip includes an ARM processor and consumes as little as 1.5 watts. ... [The HP] design packs 288 Calxeda chips into a 4U rack-mount server.


EnergyCore [has] a Cortex-A9 ARM processor running between 1.1GHz and 1.4GHz [with] 4MB of cache, an 80-Gigabit fabric switch and a management engine. ... [The s]ervers with...4GB of memory and a large-capacity solid-state drive draw 5 watts of power.   

    Timothy Prickett-Morgan adds:

HP has put together a new hyperscale business unit inside of its Enterprise Server, Storage, and Networking behemoth...known as Project Moonshot, and the first server platform to be created under the project is known as Redstone. ... HP's goal...is larger than just...peddling alternatives to x86. ... So don't get the wrong idea that Moonshot is just about ARM.


Paul Santeler, general manager of the hyperscale business unit...said that Moonshot would include super-dense servers based on...low-power Xeon and Atom chips and [AMD] low-power x86 processors. ... HP is not interested in locking itself into one ARM supplier.


The EnergyCore Fabric Switch embedded on each chip can implement a 2D torus, mesh, fat tree, and butterfly tree topologies and scale across 4,096 sockets.   

And Roger Kay gets to the point:

Calxeda brings a lot of interesting intellectual property to this party. It has created some highly optimized architecture for a specific type of computing. ... [T]he most important single element is its on-die switching fabric...an amazingly complex set of communications pathways. ... [It] scales magnificently.


HP’s Calxeda-based systems are aimed at mega-datacenter customers who are less interested than commercial customers in software compatibility because they home brew their own. ... [They] can address...large parallelizable datasets fielding relatively simple queries from many endpoints.  Think Google Earth, iTunes, or the Amazon Store. ... Large but sparsely used databases are just perfect for this type of machine.   

  Meanwhile, Robert McMillan looks to the left and the right:

Low-power startups such as Tilera and SeaMicro are already hard at work on such systems. ... Some, including SeaMicro, use Intel’s low-power Atom chip design, but many [new entrants] will license the ARM architecture that’s proven so successful on mobile devices.


EnergyCore...will use just 1.5 Watts. ... Compare that to the Intel’s N570 Atom processor...[which] burns 8.5 Watts...[or the] Xeon processor [at] 45 Watts. ... Intel believes that these extreme-low-energy systems represent [less than] 10 percent of the server market, but this [segment] is growing...too fast to be ignored.   

   And Finally...
The Stallman Dialogues
[hat tip: Paul McNamara]

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Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher

Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. He's the creator and main author of Computerworld's IT Blogwatch -- for which he has won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards on behalf of Computerworld. He also writes The Long View for IDG Enterprise. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itbw@richij.com. You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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