HP launches plan to build low-power servers
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Hewlett Packard Co unveiled plans to develop extremely low-energy servers, partnering with companies such as chip designers ARM Holdings Plc and Advanced Micro Devices Inc in a move that could threaten the dominance of Intel Corp.
Explosive growth in data centers that drive the Internet is taking up increasing amounts of electricity and tech companies are looking for ways to make servers more efficient and trim their energy bills.
HP, at an event at its research center in Palo Alto, said the effort, dubbed "Project Moonshot," aimed to find an alternative to the massive computing infrastructure needed to support the Web and billions of mobile devices.
The Silicon Valley giant is working with Austin-based start-up chipmaker Calxeda -- which uses the ARM technology in its microprocessors -- to create servers aimed at companies running large-scale remote computing operations such as Twitter and Facebook. ARM is an investor in Calxeda.
The new servers will significantly reduce both power and space requirements, Paul Santeler, vice president of HP's Hyperscale business within its server division said.
HP's first Calxeda-based pilot server platforms will be available in the first half of next year, Santeler said, but did not reveal when HP expects to sell the production version.
Energy-efficient chips made using ARM technology are widely used in tablets and smartphones and ARM executives have said they want to make them popular for personal computers and corporate servers too.
British chip designer ARM last week unveiled its first 64-bit architecture, which it said would expand its reach into enterprise applications such as servers currently dominated by Intel.
As well as chip designers, HP's program will include storage, networking and software companies.
Along with Calxeda, HP is also developing other servers using Intel's Atom processor.
Intel's chips are used in 80 percent of the world's personal computers and servers and, while they are more powerful than ARM-based chips, they also use much more electricity.
Santa Clara, California-based Intel is rushing to use its lead in high-tech manufacturing to make its processors more energy efficient.
Nvidia Corp, another semiconductor company, said in January it was developing processors for PCs, servers and supercomputers based on ARM's architecture under the title "Project Denver."