A recent press release from AppliedMicro (Applied Micro Circuits Corporation) announced that the company’s X-Gene server on a chip technology would be used in an upcoming HP Project Moonshot server.

An HP Moonshot server (expect the X-Gene version to be at least slightly different).

The X-Gene is a 64-bit ARM SoC that combines ARM processing cores with networking and storage offload engines as well as a high-speed interconnect networking fabric. AppliedMicro designed the chip to provide ARM-powered servers that will reportedly reduce the Total Cost of Ownership of running webservers in a data center by reducing upfront hardware and ongoing electrical costs.

The X-Gene chips that will appear in HP’s Project Moonshot servers feature a SoC with eight AppliedMicro-designed 64-bit ARMv8 cores clocked at 2.4GHz, four ARM Cortex A5 cores for running the Software Defined Network (SDN) controller, and support for storage IO, PCI-E IO, and integrated Ethernet (four 10Gb Ethernet links). The X-Gene chips are located on card-like daughter cards that slot into a carrier board that has networking fabric to connect all the X-Gene cards (and the SoCs on those cards). Currently, servers using X-Gene SoCs require a hardware switch to connect all of the X-Gene cards in a rack. However, the next-generation 28nm X-Gene chips will eliminate the need for a rack-level hardware switch as well as featuring 100Gb networking links).

Applied Micro's X-Gene SoC Will Be Used In HP Project Moonshot Servers - Systems 3Applied Micro's X-Gene SoC Will Be Used In HP Project Moonshot Servers - Systems 4

The X-Gene chips in HP Project Moonshot will use relatively little power compared to Xeon-based solutions. AppliedMicro has stated that the X-Gene chips will be at least two-times as power efficient, but has not officially release power consumption numbers for the X-Gene chips under load. However, at idle the X-Gene SoCs will use as little as 500mW and 300mW of power at idle and standby (sleep mode) respectively. The 64-bit quad issue, Out of Order Execution chips are some of the most-powerful ARM processors to date, though they will soon be joined by ARM’s own 64-bit design(s). I think the X-Gene chips are intriquing, and I am excited to see how well they fare in the data center environment running server applications. ARM has handily taken over the mobile space, but it is still relatively new in the server world. Even so, the 64-bit ARM chips by AppliedMicro (X-Gene) and others are the first step towards ARM being a viable option for servers.

According to AppliedMicro, HP Project Moonshot servers with X-Gene SoCs will be available later this year. You can find the press blast below.

AppliedMicro Announces X-Gene Server Platform for HP Project Moonshot and the HP Pathfinder Innovation Ecosystem

Applied Micro Circuits Corporation (NASDAQ: AMCC), also known as AppliedMicro, today announced its X-Gene™ ARM 64-bit Server on a Chip™ product as part of the HP Moonshot System and the HP Pathfinder Innovation Ecosystem. X-Gene's mix of high performance and low total cost of ownership (TCO) gives shape to HP's efforts to develop innovative, energy-efficient server technology optimized to address new enterprise and cloud workloads.

Already sampling to HP, X-Gene is the world's first ARM 64-bit Server on a Chip platform, featuring eight high-performance cores operating at up to 2.4GHz, coupled with network and storage offload engines and integrated Ethernet. X-Gene represents a completely new, grounds-up server architecture tailored for the explosive growth of structured and unstructured compute requirements in next generation data centers.

The HP Pathfinder Innovation Ecosystem establishes a close collaboration of industry-leading technology partners dedicated to accelerating the development and deployment of energy-efficient, workload optimized servers. As a member of the HP Pathfinder Innovation Ecosystem, AppliedMicro is committed to working with HP and the Ecosystem to accelerate innovation that delivers breakthroughs in efficiency and scale.

"We are excited to enable HP's efforts to develop high-efficiency, low-TCO servers," said Dr. Paramesh Gopi, president and CEO of AppliedMicro. "Our ARM 64-bit X-Gene Server on a Chip breakthrough architecture delivers an optimal combination of compute, networking and storage capabilities. As we move forward with the X-Gene product roadmap, we are poised to deliver further disruptive innovation that will allow maximum scalability and flexibility to data center customers."

"In today's world, where everything and everyone is connected, the demands placed on existing IT infrastructures is unrelenting," said Paul Santeler, vice president and general manager, Hyperscale Business Unit, HP. "AppliedMicro X-Gene Server on a Chip product, as part of the HP Moonshot System, offers customers a data center infrastructure that can deliver solutions optimized to address their specific cloud workloads while substantially lowering TCO."

Customers will be able to order an HP Project Moonshot System with AppliedMicro's X-Gene server later in 2013.

About HP Project Moonshot

HP Project Moonshot, a multi-year, multi-phased program, is dedicated to the development of a new family of software defined servers including extreme low-energy processing technology purposefully built to address surging infrastructure pressures from emerging application trends. Pioneering the future of extreme-scale technology, the HP Moonshot System is the first solution with a modern architecture engineered for the new style of IT, utilizing a revolutionary server designed to help customers significantly reduce physical space requirements, energy use and costs.

About AppliedMicro

AppliedMicro is a global leader in computing and connectivity solutions for next-generation cloud infrastructure and data centers. The company's X-Gene™ Server on a Chip™ product is the industry's first ARM 64-bit solution. Purpose-built for cloud workloads, the X-Gene platform dramatically lowers the total cost of ownership for the enterprise and data centers.

Applied Micro Circuits Corporation, AMCC, AppliedMicro, X-Gene and Server on a Chip are trademarks or registered trademarks of Applied Micro Circuits Corporation. All other product or service names are the property of their respective owners.