After HP Discover 2013 in Las Vegas earlier this year I was left struggling to think how HP’s Moonshot platform would offer the new paradigm in computing HP were promising. I just didn’t accept the idea of “software defined servers”, which was perhaps the worst way to describe these low power computing devices. However having done some research on processor performance growth, it made me think again about how these devices could be used.
Server virtualisation allows the utilisation of today’s fastest Xeon processors to be pushed higher than could be achieved by deploying a single operating system running multiple applications. However the storage I/O bottleneck is proving to be a problem without deploying lots of flash storage and these solutions don’t provide the same degree of scale out resiliency (imagine having dozens of VMs running on the same hardware).
Now, imagine running an application like Hadoop, where we want lots of nodes running a distributed data processing model. There’s a need to have physical resource isolation to make the solution truly scale-out. This could be delivered using Moonshot server cartridges which have embedded storage on each node. Or, how about using Moonshot nodes to run HP’s StoreVirtual VSA, creating an embedded storage server? It would even be possible to build a scale-out storage solution using Ceph.
The Architect’s View
I think at this stage there is a marginal cost/benefit in deploying a solution in this way and the performance/capacity of the embedded storage may mean it isn’t practical. However over time as the offerings mature, Moonshot could be a compelling way to deploy a whole host of scale out solutions, including storage. It would be interesting to see if HP have even tried out building applications like this and how the costs stack up.
Disclaimer: HP have paid for flights and accommodation for Chris Evans to attend HP Discover. However this does not imply a requirement to blog about the event and no editorial rights to any published content is provided.
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