Hewlett-Packard is following in the footsteps of Facebook and Microsoft in embracing open hardware designs with its new low-cost Cloudline servers.Cloudline servers are no-frills cloud servers that break away from proprietary technology HP uses in its popular Proliant servers.
The servers are HP’s first based on industry standard specifications defined by the Open Compute Project, which was founded by Facebook in 2012, and Open Networking Foundation, which was formed in 2011.Cloudline servers will share specifications with server offerings from other companies using OCP’s Open Rack and Open Cloud Server specifications. Microsoft contributed the Open Cloud Server specification to OCP.Servers designed to OCP specifications will allow companies to standardize on BIOS, component, systems management, storage and networking technologies. That’s particularly beneficial for companies deploying hardware from different vendors or standardizing on open firmware, Gromala said.
Moreover, Cloudline servers could be cheaper than Proliant systems with proprietary technology. At a baseline, Cloudline prices could be 10 percent cheaper than Proliant systems, but depending on hardware configurations, the savings could go up to 25 percent.
However, Gromala said Proliant servers could be cheaper than Cloudline servers with more customized networking and storage features.
The Cloudline servers are designed for open-source deployments of software like OpenStack, which deals with large data sets and is highly scalable. Some customized servers such as HP’s Moonshot and CloudSystem offer specific advantages of being “end-to-end” servers where the hardware and software are configured to work in tandem, Gromala said. HP is announcing these OpenStack systems at the Open Compute Summit and will begin taking orders on some of the systems at the end of this month. The systems use Intel Xeon E5 v3 processors and come in five configurations, including a two-socket (2P) server sled configuration and 1U configurations. Pricing was not announced. The systems are described by HP has having a “minimalist bare-iron design, standard management interfaces.”