Software-defined networking is the future with HP’s Moonshot ServerBy Michael Gabriel Sumastre
On April 8, 2013, HP unveiled its Moonshot server, touted as the world’s first software-defined server. What’s the future of this technology? What is this technology all about?
HP’s Moonshot System is specifically designed for servers that run Internet operations such as cloud computing, mobility, and security. In short, it is what businesses need to keep abreast with the current trends in “big data” and information technology.
HP Moonshot promises to deliver speed, efficiency and scale never seen in traditional servers. In fact, HP claims that Moonshot consumes 89 percent less energy when compared to traditional servers, while also promising to be 97 percent simpler, 77 percent more affordable, and consuming 80 percent less space. It’s a tall order to combine such simplicity with cost and energy-saving features, but HP is able to pull it off.
So what is this technology all about?
The Moonshot System is actually a composite of two infrastructures. First, you have the HP Moonshot 1500 Chassis. This chassis is intended for servers that use mobile chips and includes everything for networking, storage, cooling, disk drives and two network switches. The chassis can hold 45 efficient, hot plug-able and low-energy servers that handle specific workloads.
Then, you have the HP Proliant Moonshot Server itself. This server runs on Intel Atom Processor S1260. It gives you the best operating results with a dedicated host.
If you have seen HP’s blade servers, then you can imagine what the Moonshot is like. However, instead of blades, you have server cards very much like the ones you would find in a switch chassis.
1. High Density, Low Cost
Mainly because it uses low-energy and highly efficient processors, the Moonshot 1500 chassis can support two network switches, 45 servers and all other necessary components. This high-density system can fit into a 4.3U. In short, you really do not need to buy a lot of hardware, nor do you need to use up a lot of electricity to run your servers.
However, the best benefit from getting a high-density platform, such as the Moonshot, is that you are spared from the complexity of having too much hardware to manage. In fact, cabling is minimal with the Moonshot because the network fabric is built into the system.
2. Scale Faster with Less Complexities
As we have mentioned, you no longer have to worry about buying or maintaining a lot of hardware. With Moonshot, resources such as I/O devices, device drivers and network controllers are shared across the system. Also, the iLO processors are networked together to help you control the entire HP Moonshot system centrally. The iLO processors share management and health reporting for all the servers.
Additionally, when you get the HP Moonshot, you are effectively buying a complete system that has networking, computing and management capabilities all in one platform.
Lastly, Moonshot is x86-based. What this means is that a majority of current server software will be compatible with it. So if you need to add another server, you can scale a lot faster and farther than what you could do with traditional servers.
3. Save power
HP Moonshot allows you to save on electricity costs by putting the management of the different racks into the chassis. More than that, it has the Advanced Power Manager feature that allows you to power chassis level on and off, chassis-metering, power capping for your racks and other asset management features for the system.
Can it revolutionize the IT industry particularly the cloud, mobile usage and big data?
To give you an idea of the new Moonshot server’s capabilities, a NewSQL company called NuoDB says that they can run more than 7,000 active databases on a single HP Moonshot platform. As you know, NewSQL takes the best of NoSQL databases and combines it with the benefits of relational databases such as SQL Server, MySQL and Oracle.
NuoDB found that they could serve a total of 72,000 databases, with 7,200 of these servers active. And you might think that at this level, the Moonshot system would be a slow puttering mess, but it is not. NuoDB reports that it was only utilizing 70% of the server’s resources. That is impressive to say the least!
What type of companies should get this type of server?
Big data centers would surely benefit from HP Moonshot. If you are running a major data center, then chances are you’re familiar with Intel’s Xeon processors that run similar data centers operated by powerhouses such as Google and Facebook. HP claims that Moonshot can offer the same level of functioning as Xeon, but better because of all the cost savings, simplicity, power management and low power features we have described.
Another target customer for the Moonshot is any company seeking to go green, at least as far as their servers are concerned. The demand for low power servers is bigger than what you may think. Moonshot will go head to head against early players such as Dell and AMD.
You should know, however, that Moonshot will be performing optimally for software designed for its environment. Examples are Hadoop and other big data software and web applications.
Nevertheless, HP also has plans to come out with tailored servers that would address your specific and unique business needs.
The Future for software-defined networking
You do not have to be an IT geek or an analyst at Forrester or Gartner to know that data is becoming big. It is how Facebook is coming out with personalized recommendations for each of its billions of users. It is how Google excels in search and other services. As such, the need for efficient data transfer, processing and storage has steadily increased over the years. If you offer a system that can handle all that amount of data being created every second, then store, process and transfer them efficiently, that is already a big plus for you.
But to have other benefits such as cost savings, better efficiency and other tangible advantages will surely make you a game changer. HP Moonshot can give you that.
(All images are courtesy of Hewlett-Packard.)
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About the Author
Michael Gabriel Sumastre Michael Gabriel Sumastre is a skilled technical blogger and writer with more than seven years of professional experience in Web content creation, SEO and research paper writing. He has written more than a thousand articles related to tech and gadgets, cloud computing, IT management, SEO, SEM and software solutions. He ghostwrites books / e-books and has a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science. Michael is also an expert in webmastering and loves to ride his sportsbike. He maintains his portfolio and personal blog at TheFinestWriter.com
Author's Website: http://www.thefinestwriter.com
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