HP Announces Low-Power, 'Processor Neutral' Gemini Microservers
Hewlett-Packard unveiled on Tuesday a new generation of low-power microservers called Gemini. The new product line will use a coming Intel Atom processor called Centerton, but will feature swappable processor cartridges so that other processors may also be used.
Gemini is the first commercial release of HP's Project Moonshot, an initiative launched in November that is designed to develop extremely low-energy servers, as well as reduce server complexity and costs.
'Transform the Server Industry'
Intel and HP said they are working together to create more Gemini server cartridges, based on future processors using the Atom architecture. HP said it is also working on developing Gemini cartridges that use processors from other chip makers, such as ARM-based processors.
HP said Centerton was chosen for the initial server cartridges because of the processor's support for 64-bit processing, hardware virtualization, error correcting code memory, low power, increased performance and a variety of x86 software. These characteristics, HP said, are perfect for hyperscale computing, which uses many very low-power servers working together.
The Gemini line is designed to handle such tasks as Web site serving, offline analytics or managing a distributed memory cache. Gemini servers are expected to be available later this year.
Paul Santeler, vice president and general manager of the Hyperscale Business Unit at HP, said in a statement that customers who use hyperscale computing are expecting to "realize radical space, cost and energy savings," and that the Gemini approach can "transform the server industry by enabling customers to exceed the limits of what was previously possible in hyperscale computing."
15 Percent by 2015
The company said that the Gemini line innovates in a variety of ways. For instance, traditional servers need dedicated management, storage, power cords, cooling fans, and other individual support, while Gemini servers will feature enclosures that can support thousands of servers on each rack by sharing this infrastructure. The result is more computing power for a given space, and less complexity, energy and related costs.
HP said that a Gemini would require a 10th or less of the power needed for a Xeon system, with both running the same workload. In addition to shared infrastructure, a major factor is that the Centerton needs only about six watts of power while a Xeon requires 17 to 45, according to Intel.
We asked Glenn Keels, director of HP's Hyperscale Marketing for Industry Standard Servers, about the company's vision for the future of hyperscale computing using these kind of low-energy servers.
He replied that, currently, "it is only the hyperscale market that would get the most benefit from extreme low-energy servers," in which thousands of these microservers deliver Web services, social media or simple content delivery apps. He added that the company expects extreme low-energy servers -- including the "processor neutral" Gemini line -- to constitute as much as 15 percent of total server volume by 2015.
Last year, HP unveiled the first product of its Project Moonshot, called the Redstone Server Development Platform. It was based on a processor from Calxeda, and the company said that Redstone would undergo limited testing with selected customers.
But the Redstone platform is only Calxeda-based, and its use might be limited to testing. In fact, HP has said that its Project Moonshot Web site is running on a Gemini server.
Posted: 2012-06-23 @ 9:54am PT
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