Comms chips

Cavium Takes Its Thunder to HP

Cavium Inc. (Nasdaq: CAVM), which recently announced a project to build processors customized for the cloud, has joined a HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) initiative to develop next-generation blade servers.

Cavium is hardly alone. Applied Micro Circuits Corp. (Nasdaq: AMCC) likewise joined the HP Moonshot project on Tuesday, as announced on HP's blog. And the program's membership already includes chipmakers Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD), Calxeda and Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), as well as processor-core developer ARM Ltd. .

Moonshot aims to develop servers based on low-power processors -- the kinds used in cellphones. Technically, what AppMicro, Cavium and others have joined is the Pathfinder Program, the name for the partner club that HP is forming around Moonshot.

Why this matters
What's interesting is that just last week, Cavium launched Project Thunder, which pledges to develop multicore processors customized for the cloud. Exactly what there is to customize, Cavium isn't specifying yet.

Moonshot, meanwhile, aims to save power by making processors share elements such as RAID controllers and network interfaces. Those elements go into the system, while the blade (HP calls it a "cartridge" in this context) houses the low-power processor.

There is nothing in HP's blog that says the Moonshot and Thunder are connected. Still, if Cavium is truly developing a new type of chip for the cloud, then HP's new server architecture seems like a good place to showcase it.

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— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading

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