If you have a big server operation, it is very likely that the processors that are running things inside were made at Intel. Now HP, the world's number one server maker, has announced Project Moonshot, a new way to build server operations that will cut costs and energy use. The most interesting thing about Project Moonshot is that, at least at first, the servers will use ARM-designed Cortex processors created by Calxeda.
This is pretty huge for the server market as it represents the first time ARM-designed chips will be used inside an HP server machine. According to the press release, the first ARM-based servers will be used in the first part of 2012 via the HP Redstone program. It states, "It incorporates more than 2,800 servers in a single rack, reducing cabling, switching and the need for peripheral devices, and delivering a 97 percent reduction in complexity."
While HP said that future versions of this program will also incorporate Intel's Atom processors, the fact that ARM-based chips are now being used in servers is a huge break from the x86 design. It also shows that Intel had better watch out. ARM-based chips are already being used in a ton of smartphones and tablets. They could be used in desktop and notebook PCs now that Microsoft has plans to offer a version of Windows 8 specifically for ARM processors. All of this could cause both Intel and AMD to fight for market share in the server market.
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