89%, 80%, 77% and 97% are some really exciting numbers that HP wants you to know about.

What do they correspond to?

89% less energy, 80% less space, 77% less cost and 97% less complex.

These were the goals that HP set for itself when it began the Moonshot project in 2011. In April of this year, HP announced sales of the Moonshot servers to the general public after two years of testing with more than 50 beta customers.

These new servers were designed from the ground up to solve the massive strain that social media, mobile device usage, cloud computing and Big Data are putting on the physical limitations of today’s data center.

Based on the HP Moonshot enclosure, which is just shy of 5U in rack space, this chassis can hold up to 45 individual server cartridges. The chassis also has space for 2 switch modules to be integrated within the enclosure, for a complete network/server infrastructure.

Initially, HP offered these server cartridges in a single Atom-based Processor S1200 with 8GB RAM, dual 1GB Ethernet ports and single hard drive connecter. Support for several versions of Linux rounded out the initial product offering. HP targeted static web applications and hosted workloads in this first round of servers.

On Sept 4th of this year, HP introduced the new ProLiant m300 Server Cartridge for the Moonshot System featuring an eight core 2.4GHz ATOM CPU, a single 1TB HD and 32GB memory. These servers are geared more towards front-end web caching, as well as SQL and NoSQL Big Data applications.

The next set of servers, to be released this year, will be based on AMD GPU chips for content delivery and video processing, a TI-based digital signal processor (DSP) for voice recognition and seismic processing and a Calxeda ARM32 CPU for web hosting and analytics. Later on, HP will begin to deliver on the entire software-defined platform, when its storage specific cartridges are released in coming quarters.

450 servers in a 47U rack, 3600 cores, and 1.4TB of memory makes a compelling story for any data center that can now match software applications with the optimal server technology.

Going forward, the data center admin will no longer provision general purpose hardware for a specific application or software stack. The ability to tailor a hardware design to a specific workload will free the data center from the over provisioning of hardware, power/cooling and cabling that is slowly collapsing under its own weight, just as data usage and always-on requirements grow exponentially.

For more information about HP’s Moonshot, check out this white paper.