HP is not shy of grand statements when it is describing its newest baby: "historic", "enables unprecedented scale"  "revolutionary new architecture".  HP claims "maximum density" and "unparalleled power efficiency". That of course, simply begs for closer inspection.

The HP Moonshot 1500 System chassis is a proprietary 4.3U chassis that is pretty heavy: 180 lbs or 81.6 Kg. The chassis hosts:

  • 45 hot-pluggable Atom S1260 based server nodes
  • A backplane with 3 different "fabrics": network, storage and cluster
  • Two Ethernet switch modules
  • Two uplink with SFPs
  • a management module (with a sort of ILO "light")
  • Two to four 1200W PSUs (94% efficient)
  • 5 dual rotor, hot plug fans (N+1 redundancy)

Each server node has two 1 Gbit connections to one of the two Ethernet switch modules, or four Ethernet links in total. The cluster fabric allows a fast 2D Torus interconnect for linking up server nodes. The storage fabric is implemented but seems to be unused for now.


The two switch modules are located in the middle of the chassis, and are placed in the length of the backplane. They can be teamed up, but will probably end up in a redundant 1+1 configuration. The server nodes connect to the backplane by using PCI express slots, and also get their power from PCI Express pins, similar to what SeaMicro servers. All fans are located at the back of chassis.

The back is very similar to a blade chassis, with shared power, fans, management and uplink modules for all 45 server nodes.

The Moonshot server "cartridge"
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  • WackyDan - Friday, April 12, 2013 - link

    Pure Systems... IBM... Been there, done that... HP needs a Mars shot.
  • P_Sinclair - Friday, April 12, 2013 - link

    HP mentioned FPGAs several times in their presentations. I see that SRC Computers is on their partner list. Anyone heard anything about when an FPGA might be available on Moonshot? That would certainly outperform all those wimpy processors announced so far.
  • bloodgrvv - Monday, April 15, 2013 - link

    I'm sure some of us have worked with clusters before, and this one reminds me of Arthur C. Clarke and Kubrick:
    Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do,
    I'm half crazy all for the love of you.
    It won't be a stylish marriage,
    I can't afford a cartridge,
    --HAL 9000
  • spamreader1 - Friday, May 3, 2013 - link

    Looks like a crossover between nutanix compute cluster and a bladecenter.
  • sagnikd - Monday, September 15, 2014 - link

    Very new technology... Excited about this "Physicalization" way instead of virtualization..
    One quick question - How many catridges per moonshot box any idea? I would believe one catrdge is one Desktop. Hence, my question boils down to how many parallel desktops can one moonshot take?


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