For most people – non-engineers and engineers alike – servers, switches and routers are nothing but black-boxes with blinking LEDs that fill up Data Centers. In my eleven years of hardware engineering experience, I’ve noticed that companies making these appliances spend very little time refining their physical looks. They are utilitarian and serve a specific purpose – which means they end up being big, bulky and ugly, and understandably so because customers don’t buy them based on appearances. No one’s going to hold them up to the light and examine their curves. Selling these appliances depends upon the shrewdness of the sales person and of course, the added functionality they offer over competing products.
But, once in a while, we see a product which has no business being beautiful. On this 5th anniversary of the HP Moonshot I present to you a brief dissection of this mean machine.
The HP Moonshot is primarily made up of 7 components
On opening the hood of the chassis, you’ll find the first 3 components – 45 server cartridges and the 2 switch cards plugged into the baseboard.
Here’s close up of the Baseboard. Notice that server cards and the switch cards have different footprints and connectors. Also, there’s some blank space at the head of the switch cards for baseboard components.
The Switch Card connects the Uplink Module (the ethernet ports that lead to the outside world) to the 45 server cards. There is space for 2 switch cards which can be configured for redundancy or traffic isolation. Its dimensions are roughly twice the length and width of the server cards.
The connection between the switch card and the server cartridges are either 1Gbps or 10Gbps depending on the type of server cartridge.
HP offers 4 varieties of server cartridges. As you would expect, they all have one or more processors, an ethernet NIC, DIMM slots for RAM and m.2 storage slots.
Your options are -
The chassis itself is 4.3U tall and at the back you’ll find the remaining 4 components arranged in 3 tiers.
That was a whirlwind tour of the HP Moonshot and I leave you with the official press release from 5 years ago. If you wish to dig-in further, the resources listed in the
References section below would be a good place to start.