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Bigger Iron: IBM, Intel Partner on Virtualization

Monday, December 18th, 2006

IBM and Intel announced this week a joint effort aimed at driving the adoption of server consolidation on virtualized platforms.

The biggest issue facing server vendors most likely isn't selling the benefits of virtualization in enterprise datacenters but rather ensuring piece of mind in live deployments. The IBM / Intel partnership appears to be directly addressing that concern.

The two vendors have created a virtualization benchmark methodology dubbed vConsolidate that enterprises can follow to simulate a virtual server running a variety of applications across multiple CPU partitions. While quite obviously this makes for a good sales tool, the methodology does address the concern that Intel as raised, in that existing methods of measuring virtualization performance are lacking.

The companies have used vConsolidate to put an IBM System x server (x3950) with four Dual-Core Intel Xeon 7140N processors head-to-head with an HP ProLiant server (DL-585) with four Dual-Core AMD Opteron 885 processors and claim the IBM solution emerged as the clear winner with 46% more performance throughput than the HP system.

Using the vConsolidate benchmark and customer test the companies have developed a VMware Infrastructure Sizing Guide that provides a rule of thumb for companies that are looking to quickly size a virtual solution.

None too surprising, one early result of creating this sizing guide is that the servers have gotten larger. IBM has doubled total memory in their reference configuration from 64GB to 128GB. IBM expects 128GB of memory to be the standard for virtual systems beginning next year.

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