Intel Centerton Powers HP's Project Moonshot
June 21, 2012

Intel Centerton Powers HP’s Project Moonshot

Enid Burns for

It's codename powers codename, but for enterprise businesses looking for more efficient servers to store company data, it's big news. Hewlett Packard (HP) created the Project Moonshot initiative to develop extreme low-energy servers. To add to the codenames, HP and Intel have decided that the first HP Project Moonshot server will be powered by the Intel Atom processors codenamed Centerton, and the server will bear the codename Gemini.

It's not uncommon for Intel, as well as other companies, to operate publicly using a codename and then rename the chip or other product with the official brand name at launch.

The new servers are designed to help customers significantly reduce server complexity, energy use and costs. The Gemini servers are expected to enter production by the end of the year. Centerton's features such as data-center-class features, such as 64-bit support, hardware virtualization (VTx), error correcting code (ECC) memory, lower power requirements and increased infrastructure were all reasons HP opted to go with the server cartridge processor in its first outing for Project Moonshot.

In addition to low power consumption, Gemini servers are intended to conserve real estate. While server farms require a certain amount of space because each unit must be spaced for airflow to cool the systems, Gemini's low power consumption means less heat generation, and therefore allows more servers in a smaller space. "Using many extreme low-energy servers densely packed into a small footprint can be much more efficient than fewer standalone servers," HP says in a company statement.

Project Moonshot's goal with the Gemini server is that it will handle hyperscale environments, or computing operations such as private and public clouds, Web 2.0 and online gaming structures as well as other high-performance computing that businesses demand.

HP believes its Gemini servers will introduce several innovations to the server market, and give it a lead over the competition. "Customers leveraging hyperscale computing are looking to realize radical space, cost and energy savings, and with Project Moonshot we've introduced the breakthrough approach needed to achieve these savings," said Paul Santeler, VP and GM of the Hyperscale Business Unit , Industry-standard servers and Software at HP, in a corporate statement. "Together with Intel's enhanced processor features and collaboration, we're able to transform the server industry by enabling customers to exceed the limits of what was previously possible in hyperscale computing."

Even while HP and Intel announce details to put Gemini servers into production, the companies continue to work out further details to address customer requirements and range of workloads.

"For the last 3 years Intel has shown its commitment to constant innovation in the extreme low-energy server initiative, and our deep collaboration with HP enabled us to create a processor roadmap designed to deliver exceptional performance and power-efficiency benefits," said Jason Waxman, GM of Cloud Infrastructure at Intel Data Center and Connected Systems Group, in an HP corporate statement.

If the Gemini servers go into production at the end of the year, as planned, they will be available to businesses soon after.