HP Uses Intel Atom "Centerton" for Its First Project Moonshot Low-Power Servers

HP Unveils First Gemini Servers with Intel Atom "Centerton" Inside

by Anton Shilov
06/19/2012 | 11:21 PM

HP on Tuesday announced that for the next phase of Project Moonshot, it has chosen to proceed with server cartridges featuring Intel Atom code-named “Centerton” chip for its initial system. Project Moonshot, a multiyear program designed to significantly reduce server complexity, energy use and costs. Moonshot machines use workload-optimized, low-energy “server cartridges” in an enclosure that pools resources across thousands of servers.


HP chose to use Intel Atom "Centerton" server cartridges in its initial production server system, codenamed Gemini, due to the processor’s data-center-class features, such as 64-bit support, hardware virtualization (VTx), error correcting code (ECC) memory, lower power requirements, increased performance and broad software ecosystem. These features, coupled with the revolutionary Gemini infrastructure, make the new Centerton-based servers suitable for hyperscale workloads, where using many extreme low-energy servers densely packed into a small footprint can be much more efficient than fewer standalone servers.

Gemini to Transform Server Industry

Gemini introduces several innovations primarily centered on its unique federated environment that is processor-neutral. Traditional servers rely on dedicated components, including management, networking, storage, power cords and cooling fans in a single enclosure. Gemini enclosures are capable of supporting thousands of servers per rack that share these components, which lets customers to pack a lot more compute power into a smaller footprint, while significantly driving down complexity, energy use and costs. The newly designed Gemini server system with Centerton server cartridges is intended for web serving, offline analytics and hosting. The system is expected to realize similar power, cost and density benefits of the previously announced Redstone development platform.

“Customers leveraging hyperscale computing are looking to realize radical space, cost and energy savings, and with Project Moonshot we have introduced the breakthrough approach needed to achieve these savings. Together with Intel’s enhanced processor features and collaboration, we are able to transform the server industry by enabling customers to exceed the limits of what was previously possible in hyperscale computing,” said Paul Santeler, vice president and general manager of hyperscale business unit of industry-standard servers and software division at HP.

HP has a robust development roadmap of Gemini server cartridges incorporating processors from other vendors for use within the Gemini system. These cartridges will incorporate features needed for an extended set of workloads and will offer a wide range of density and performance configurations.

Production Servers Due This Year

“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, general manager of cloud infrastructure at Intel data center and connected systems group.

The Gemini server system incorporating Centerton-based compute cartridges will soon be available for customer testing. It is expected to begin shipping in early production to customers by year’s end.