The market has been waiting for quite some time for a sign from HP that there is more to it than squabbling over the Autonomy. The launch of Project Moonshot and a new line of ultra low-power servers may just be that sign.

The new servers are due to go on general release later this year and with them enterprises, data centers or anyone else that has a high dependency on large server banks will reduce the amount of power needed to drive them by as much as 89%.

But it's not just an energy thing. They will also require 80% less physical space than current systems, are significantly less complex, and will cut costs by over 70%. It also says it can fit 1,800 Moonshot servers in a rack. So how much energy are we talking about.

Testing results show that with Moonshot servers we can expect to run hp.com, with the energy equivalency of a dozen 60-watt light bulbs, which is a game change…We also plan to deploy Moonshot for additional applications to lead the next wave of transformation in the data center,” said John Hinshaw, Technology and Operations VP at HP.

See the video below for description of Moonshot. 

HP, Innovation

With Moonshot, HP may finally be able to shrug off its current corporate troubles and re-invent itself as the innovative technology giant that it once was.

Indeed, if you go back to the early days of Meg Whitman, she insisted that HP’s recovery would be built on innovation as much as it would be on traditional computing products.

So what is Moonshot and why is HP so excited about it? Moonshot has been in the works for a long time and dates back to the days before the Autonomy mess and the subsequent bickering.

While Whitman may not be able to claim credit for its inception, the fact that it has been released at all given recent HP form is encouraging, especially as if it works, HP will be able to sell it into just about any IT space you can think of.

HP’s Moonshot

In this respect, think big data, think cloud computing, think mobile and behind them all you have massive data centers that are literally gobbling up energy.

It was originally announced in late 2011 at which time HP said it would was working with Calexda to build, develop and exploit new servers that would be powered by ARM-designed chips and would ultimately be able to run Internet workloads in massive data centers.

It's now some 18-months later and the problems surrounding data centers is even more pronounced that it was then.

Over the past two years we have highlighted the massive data explosion that is currently underway, and while we have looked at one aspect in particular -- the ability to manage this massive amount of information -- the hardware issues involved are often overlooked.

Enter Moonshot. Moonshot is not just a single server that aims to deal with this problem, but a whole line of servers that will over time drastically reduce the amount of energy required to run these centers.

HP Server Strategy

HP is, needless to say, extremely excited about this and in the webcasts around the launch has been talking up the servers not just as a new product, but as a new way of thinking about computing power.

Moonshot, Whitman says, is as important to the server space as the shift away from mainframes to Unix was, or even more important than the release of x86 servers.

With them, users will be able to invest in servers that are designed for particular workloads -- and these are really big workloads like cloud computing -- and then will be able to customize according to their needs.

Initial releases will come with Intel's Atom S1200 Centerton chip later in the year, but HP says it will be developing Moonshot with other partners too, like Calxeda, Texas Instruments and Advanced Micro Devices.

Dave Donatelli, executive vice president and general manager of HP's Enterprise Group, has described the new servers as the industry's first "software-defined servers", or servers that have been built specifically for the software workloads they run.

Currently, there are 50 companies in the beta program for the new system with a starting price of US$ 6,1875 in the US and Canada, but they will be generally available worldwide in May. If you’re interested in more, you can check out a recording of yesterday’s webcast below.