HP Launches Faster Test As Moonshot Servers Take Off

HP Moonshot Discovery Lab

HP has some customers for its Moonshot servers, but a new express test of the system could persuade more users on board

HP has launched an express service for European users to test whether its new Moonshot servers can handle their projects, while it has also announced its customers for the new energy-efficient designs.

The computing giant runs a Discovery Lab service, available in Europe at its Grenoble lab, and has run more than 100 “proof of concept” tests of the Moonshot servers since they were announced in 2013, officials told the press at a labs open day. HP is now offering an “express” version of the proof of concept test which allows customers to book online and evaluate remotely.

susan blocher HP VP moonshot marketing and business development

“We are getting traction,” said Susan Blocher, vice president for Moonshot marketing. “It is starting to kick in.”

We have lift off?

Moonshot places servers in cartridges which are defined by their workload and mounted in modules where power supplies, cooling and network are shared, Blocher reminded the audience.

“It’s a new style of computing and HP has 110 patents on the cartridge,” said Blocher.”The technology is what would typically be found in mobile devices such as phones.” With up to four servers per cartridge, Moonshot canpack 180 servers in a 7.5 inch section of data centre rack.

Proof of Concept Express lets potential Moonshot customers log in and define their demo and choose a time for it, explained Olivier Frank, sales manager of Moonshot for EMEA. Active proof of concept tests include a hyperscale system in Russia and high-performance computing in Italy, while the specialised hosted desktop infrastructure (HDI) Moonshot cartridge is being put through its paces by customers from France, Germany and Denmark.

While various unnamed telcos and retailers are trying the technology, Frank was able to introduce one user publicly committed to the new architecture: Christoph Herrnkind, chief operating officer of German hosting firm myLoc said he had saved around 33 percent of server costs by using Moonshot to develop a service which will go live in May.

MyLoc has three data centres in Dusseldorf, serving businesses and consumers through the MyLOC and Webtopia brands. It currently offers dedicated server hosting based on “tower” format machines on shelves, which Herrnkind explains thus: “Tower servers are cheaper than 19 inch cases, and shelves are cheaper than cabinets – but it takes a lot of space.”

The company is jumping to offering dedicated Moonshot servers and feeling the benefit: “Much less space is needed, fewer cables and less power,” said Herrnkind. The downside is that the Moonshot modules require cooling and a greater upfront cost.

“We now use 0.0052 square metres per server,” MyLOC CEO Christoph Herrnkind told the press. “That’s one 25th of our previous technology.”

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HP Labs Grenoble Moonshot

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Moonshot at the HP Grenoble Labs
HP's Moonshot is a new design. Potential users (and journalists) can kick its tyres at HP's labs in Grenoble