My take on HP’s Moonshot

MoonshotJust before but also during Citrix Synergy there was a lot of buzz around the HP Moonshot system, Moonshot is a relatively new concept in which the design will offer multiple hosts to deliver your services.

 

With one (Moonshot 1500) chassis you can host 45 cartridges which can host 4 nodes each, meaning you can get up to 180 ‘physical’ nodes on your chassis. Almost needless to say it’s supplied with redundant power supplies, network IO modules and network switches.

From the HP Moonshot Technical White Paper:

Moonshot

There are 3 types of cartridges available for the Moonshot 1500 chassis, when looking at the specs they’re very promising when keeping the density of the system in mind:

HP ProLiant Moonshot Server Cartridge:

Specs:

  • Compute; Intel® Atom™ Processor S1200, 2 GHz
  • Memory: DDR3 SODIMM; 1 DIMM slot; 8 GB
  • Storage: (1) SFF SATA HDD
  • Networking: Single Broadcomm 5720 embedded LOM per S1260 processor

Supported Operating Systems:

  • Canonical Ubuntu
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES)
HP ProLiant m300 Server Cartridge:

Specs:

  • Compute: Intel® Atom™ Processor C2750, 2.4 GHz
  • Memory: DDR3 PC3-12800 SDRAM (1600 MHz); Four (4) SODIMM slots; 32GB (4x8GB)
  • Storage: (1) SFF 500GB HDD, 1TB HDD, and 240GB SSD
  • Networking: (Internal) dual port 1GbE per CPU; HP Moonshot 45G Switch Module Kit; HP Moonshot 6SFP Uplink Module Kit

Supported Operating Systems:

  • Microsoft Windows Server
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES)
  • Canonical Ubuntu
HP ProLiant m700 Server Cartridge:

Specs:

  • Compute: AMD Opteron™ X2150 APU, 1.5GHz, (4) x86 cores, and Integrated GPU with AMD Radeon™ HD 8000 Series Graphics
  • Memory: DDR3 PC3-12800 SDRAM (1600 MHz); Four (4) SODIMM slots; 32GB (8GB per SoC)
  • Storage: 32 or 64 GB of integrated Solid State Storage (iSSD) per server
  • Networking: (Internal) dual port 1GbE per CPU; HP Moonshot-180G Switch Module; HHP Moonshot-4QSFP+ Uplink Module

Supported Operating Systems:

  • Microsoft Windows 7 Enterprise SP1

 

During one of my chats with Dane Young he showed me some of the data he would later on present about during Citrix Synergy (SYN257: The sky’s the limit with Moonshot! Insider information on implementing XenDesktop on HP’s revolutionary platform, thanks for sharing your slidedeck Dane!) and he got me thinking about this solution.

The solution is pretty straight forward; It has no hypervisor, because of extra layering, reducing complexity adding security. This results in a limited ways of OS delivery as MCS and MCS-like technology as VMware View uses won’t work without hypervisor. This being said, it does work with Citrix PVS and even with a OS delivered via the deployment tool of your choice. With Remote PC Access or a VDA installed on during the OS deployment you can broker the desktops with Citrix XenDesktop, the cartridges are updates to 64Gb SSDs which enables us to install the OS onto the four nodes on the cartridge.

My thoughts?

I think Moonshot good be a great solution for the power users that require just a bit more than the typical knowledge worker and if you already have HP in your reference architecture it’s a good addition to fill in the gap. The disadvantages of this systems could be that it’s only useful with physically installed OSs and with PVS which is typically used for non-persistent desktops while I would tend to use Moonshot for persistent desktops. Next to that I would feel rather uncomfortable when one of the nodes of the cartridge would fail and I would be forced to redeploy 3 other desktops as you can only remove the whole cartridge affecting 4 people.

In the end it’s up to your specs and requirements, during Synergy I talked to a guy who supported his call center employees by using Moonshot. As they had a small base image and just one LOB application it would fit on the 32Gb SSDs and thus was Moonshot an ideal solution for this call center.

With the additional cartridges and options coming to the market soon it will be interesting to see how this segment will evolve.

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Kees Baggerman

Kees Baggerman is a Staff Solutions Architect for End User Computing at Nutanix. Kees has driven numerous Microsoft and Citrix, and RES infrastructures functional/technical designs, migrations, implementations engagements over the years.

3 comments

  1. Dane says:

    Thanks for the shout out Kees! Great blog post!!

  2. Rui Lopes says:

    Great post. What about using moonshot to provision server OS workloads?
    Xenapp servers can also be streamed via Pvs

  3. Rakesh Agrawal says:

    I don’t think Moonshot is good option when it comes to persistent desktops . I this case we need deploy the OS on local disk of each node . This takes us away from the idea of Single Image Management using PVS in which all the nodes are caching (streaming) the single Vdisk and eliminates the time required for any update/upgrade of software . So far I have deployed it for more than 2000 nodes and gives fantastic performance with PVS in non persistent mode.

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