HP announces low-power server system with upcoming Atom chip

HP's new Gemini server system will have a flexible design where cartridges can be plugged in to handle different workloads

Hewlett-Packard introduced on Tuesday a low-power server system called Gemini that will be based on Intel's upcoming Atom processor, code-named Centerton.

Gemini is the next step in HP's plans to push low-power servers in data centers to handle Web-based and offline analytics-oriented workloads. HP announced in November last year the Project Redstone server platform, which uses low-power, ARM-based processors and is due to become available for testing to select customers in the first half of this year.

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The Gemini server system will include an enclosure in which server cartridges with Intel's low-power Atom Centerton chip can be inserted to handle specific workloads. The Gemini server system will be able to accommodate thousands of Atom processors per rack and will be able to handle specific workloads while drawing less power than Intel's Xeon servers, which go into industry standard systems.

A number of cartridges with the Atom chips can be plugged into the chassis depending on what the workload needs are, said Paul Santeler, vice president and general manager for Hewlett-Packard's hyperscale business unit, in a webcast.

There is growing interest in building servers with a collection of low-power processors such as Atom as companies look to curb power costs. Atom chips go into netbooks and low-power laptops, but Intel's Centerton chip has been designed from the ground up for servers. The chip has a dual-core processor, 64-bit addressing, hardware-based virtualization, and error correction features to handle server workloads. The Centerton chip draws six watts of power.

The Gemini server system is the next step in Project Moonshot, which is a code name for HP's overall effort to deliver low-power servers to customers. Intel and HP will work together in the future Atom chips for Gemini to address different workloads, the companies said in a statement.

Gemini servers will carry Intel as well as ARM-based chips as well, Santeler said.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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