Calxeda jumps aboard HP’s Pathfinder Innovation Ecosystem

Thankless tasks but someone has to do it

Calxeda LogoThe lucky among you missed the HP Moonshot webcast yesterday, but we can sum it up in a paragraph. Today they fleshed out a few more details on the Pathfinder project to go with Moonshot.

Moonshot is *YAWN* the savior of HP, a daring new direction for the moribund company that everyone seems to have already written off. Universally panned though it was, the webcast had five bits of information in it, four of which are the chips in the blades/cartridges. That would be Calxeda with their aforementioned EnergyCore chips, Intel with their 32nm Centerton Atom chips, Applied Micro’s X-Gene, and Texas Instrument’s Keystone II parts. If you want to check out the full webcast, take our word for it and don’t. The 2nd Generation Moonshot chassis was the last bit, that is everything that mattered without the hours long self-congratulatory back-patting tedium.

Back to the story at hand, the part that isn’t painfully dull. Calxeda is now a proud member of the HP Pathfinder Innovation Ecosystem (PIE), 25 hardware and software vendors who together will come up with solutions around the Moonshot chassis. You can probably guess who three of the others are too. This is intended to be a multi-year collaboration, not a one shot event.

The idea is simple enough, make sure the relevant software and hardware folk are all working on the same page, and everyone’s parts can work with everyone else’s. OSes should run on all hardware, hypervisors should be cartridge agnostic, and management dashboards should see and report everything correctly. These are the thankless plumbing tasks that Calxeda signed up to do, and you should be grateful that they are there. If you are in the market for this kind of ultra-dense next-generation microserver thingy, the last thing in the world you want is to do the compatibility testing and debugging work on your own. Worse yet you could have to do it after rollout when you can’t get something to work like it should…..

In that sense, HP’s PIE (in the sky) is a good idea. Getting all the component vendors to iron out their differences independently simply won’t happen, Intel is unlikely to help debug problems with the ARM vendors stuff, and vice-versa. Multi-vendor platforms like this tend to degenerate in to a mess of finger-pointing without firm adult governance. With the loving hand of HP waiting to SLAP the vendors (Not an acronym, just slap them hard) if they don’t play nice, every customer wins or at least doesn’t lose. The only question SemiAccurate has at this point is why Calxeda would smile when having to do this thankless task. Brave men and women at that place I tell you, brave.S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also available through Guidepoint and Mosaic. FullyAccurate