At Linaro we have one of those HPe Moonshot beasts. Basically it is chassis with some Ethernet switches built-in. Then you can plug cartridges with processors into it. There are some x86-64 ones and there are M400 ones with X-Gene cpu, 64GB ram and some SSD storage.
And there was delivery at Linaro office. With huge pile of M400 cartridges. Gema opened chassis and started to plug one after another until we got all 45 slots used (we had 15 cartridges before):
Turned out that one slot is dead so we have to live without c22n1 cartridge. But that still gives us 44 octa core systems. Each has 64GB ram, storage size varies (some have 480GB, some 120GB, some do not want to tell).
We are waiting for another chassis to fill it with rest of M400s ;D
There will be some work as we need to get them updated to be SBSA/SBBR compliant (U-Boot -> kernel is something I leave for some Company but it is not how Linaro expects) – we need to replace firmware setup.
Plans for use? Linaro Developer Cloud, OpenStack 3rdparty CI and probably several other targets.
Time goes and it is that time of year where Linaro Enterprise Group is working on a new release. And as usual jokes about lack of thermite starts…
Someone may ask “Why?”. Reason is simple: X-Gene 1 processor. I think that it’s hateclub grows and grows with time.
When it was released it was a nice processor. Eight cores, normal SATA, PCI Express, USB, DDR3 memory with ECC etc. It was used for distribution builders, development platforms etc. Not that there was any choice 😀
Nowadays with all those other AArch64 processors on a market it starts to be painful. PCI support requires quirks, serial console requires patching etc. We have X-Gene1 in Applied Micro Mustang servers and HPe Moonshot M400 cartridges. Maybe officially those machines are not listed as supported but we still use them so testing a new release work there has to be done.
And each time there are some issues to work around. Some could probably be fixed with firmware updates but I do not know do vendors still support that hardware.
So if you have some spare thermite (and a way to handle that legally) then contact us.