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Do You Need HP Moonshot?

The answer to that question is no, especially if you're virtualized. In its current iteration, it would not make any sense. Besides, it has no support for most hypervisors. Right now, it only supports RHEL 6.4, SUSE 11 SP2 and Ubuntu 12.04 from an operating system perspective. That being said, HP's Moonshot is not aimed at virtualization workloads, it is more niche focused on massive , cale-out computing that would suit big data, cloud providers and even grid computing-enabled applications. 

I am, however, very excited to see HP back in "invent" mode and I am hopeful that this is the beginning of a new innovation cycle. Let's be honest: If Windows XP needs to go, then so does the C7000. And while Moonshot will not replace the C7000 yet or be of little impact to corporate customers, I am hopeful that HP builds on this new architecture to introduce products that are more suited for this era of computing.

Now granted many corporate customers will try and find workloads for Moonshot; some might even use them as a replacement for the old blade PCs, while others might use them in financial verticals, etc. But I still believe that the use case in corporations will be limited given we could provision a virtual machine with more power than a single blade in the Moonshot chassis.

That brings us to the architecture of the platform: Moonshot 1500 fully loaded packs a whopping 45 Proliant servers inside of a very oddly sized 4.3U chassis. Each Proliant server consists of an Intel Atom S1260 based processor, 8GB RAM, a 500GB or 1TB SATA drive, and dual 1Gbps Ethernet ports. HP said that future versions will feature AMD and ARM processors. You will quickly wonder about display functionality and you will note that the Proliant servers do not have any VGA connectivity. That's because all management aspects are handled at the chassis level instead of at the blade level, making management centralized and streamlined.  The Moonshot 1500 includes two networking modules for internal server connectivity, with each module serving 45 x 1 GbE, and featuring two uplink modules offering 6 x 10GbE.

I like HP's Moonshot and I think the future of computing probably lies in these small factor blades, but I'd argue that we are still far from what it's capable of doing for those working with virtualization. I am interested in seeing what use cases that this type of architecture will attract.

Posted by Elias Khnaser on 04/10/2013 at 12:49 PM


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