When HP Moonshot servers launched today, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) was quick to note that the new Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) servers will leverage Atom processors -- though HP does eventually plan to offer ARM-based support as well. It's a significant near-term win for Intel, which hopes to defeat potential rivals like ARM in the emerging market for so-called "microservers."

According to an Intel spokesperson, Atom is an ideal choice for the HP servers because the architecture can run excisting operating systems (Microsoft Windows Server, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, etc.) with no porting requirements.

In the second half of 2013, Moonshot systems will leverage 2nd generation of Intel Atom processor codenamed “Avoton”, based on 22nm manufacturing technology, new “silvermont” microarchitecture with all server features, according to the Intel spokesperson.

Still, Moonshot servers with ARM processors are coming too, notes ZDNet.

HP's Pitch

HP, meanwhile, is positioning the Moonshot servers for social, mobile, cloud and Big Data applications. HP claims the servers consume "up to 89 percent less energy, 80 percent less space and cost 77 percent less that traditional servers."

The HP Moonshot system consists of the HP Moonshot 1500 enclosure and ProLiant Moonshot servers. The solution supports up to 1,800 servers per rack -- consuming about one-eigth the space of traditional servers, HP claims. Pricing begins at $61,875 for the enclosure, 45 HP ProLiant Moonshot servers and an integrated switch.

For channel partners, Moonshot is best considered an enterprise and cloud services provider (CSP) solution.