HP CEO Meg Whitman has called the company's brand new, very small, very low power Moonshot servers an industry game changer and she's not wrong in some respects.
She praised Moonshot when HP formally announced the new product on Monday.
Moonshot servers use 89 percent less energy, take up 80 percent less space, and cost 77 percent less money than traditional servers, HP says.
But the truly revolutionary part hasn't really occured yet: using ARM chips, the same ones that power your smartphone and tablets. That's because ARM is still only designed to run PC and mobile software, not server software. In geek speak, these chips are still only 32-bit, not 64-bit.
While HP's original Moonshot experiment, code-named Redstone was built with ARM using chips from a company named Calxeda, HP also created a second project, code-named Gemini, that used low-power Intel "Centerton" Atom processors.
Servers built on those 64-bit Atom chips was what HP announced on Monday. The company promised to release an ARM-based Moonshot server in 2013, with processors suppled by AMD, AppliedMicro, Calxeda, Intel and Texas Instruments.
And that puts HP five years behind Dell, Dell's Drew Schulke, Director, Dell Data Center Solutions, insists. "We’ve developed and shipped more than one million hyperscale servers based on both Intel and ARM architectures," he told Business Insider
As HP's competitor, Schulke is obviously skeptical about Moonshot. "Customers have told us they don’t plan to put ARM servers into a production environment in any meaningful quantity until 64-bit is available. HP makes a lot of claims on the performance of its Moonshot servers, but noticeably missing is any guidance on workload scenarios or applications that run within that 32-bit ARM environment.”
Will this product save HP? It's a start. But HP won't likely own this new ARM server market.
"We anticipate further competitive pressures as other Internet companies decide to source their own customized servers and as other traditional players including DELL, IBM, and ORCL beef up their offerings," wrote Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu in a research note today.
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