Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Server Virtialization

Last week I went to VMware's Virtual Infrastruture 3 seminar. It was very informative, and got a chance to hear 2 VMware customers real experience with VI3. At the end, I won a VMware T-shirt. VMware has improved itself over the past a couple years, and now it is still growing by partnering with Intel, Microsoft and etc. Anyway, here are some information I learned from this seminar.

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As the interface between server hardware and multiple operating systems, ESX Server performs a complex set of tasks. It controls all physical resources, such as processors, memory, storage, graphics cards and network adapters, and arbitrates between the guess OS to support IT service level and avoid conflicts.

OS traditionally run in a privileged space in the software stack, which gives them prioritized access to physical resources. In today’s virtualization solutions, ESX Server runs in this privileged space, and guest OS run in the space traditionally used for applications.
Since ESX Server runs directly on server hardware, it impacts the performance and reliability of all the other applications running on the same system. Now Intel has introduce Intel Virtualization Technology to optimize the virtualization on Intel architecture.
Intel Virtualization Technology has helped to create a new, privileged space for ESX Server, so guest OS and applications can run in the environment they were designed for. It greatly increases virtualization-friendly hardware environment. This reduces the need for intervention, and allows guest OS to run directly on the hardware. Hardware-based transitions-handoffs between ESX Server and guest OS are supported in hardware, reducing the need for complex, compute-intensive software transitions. Hardware-based memory protection-Processor state information for ESX Server and each guest OS is retained in dedicated address spaces to accelerate transitions.

Hyper-Threading Technology
This technology enables each processor to handle two software threads or tasks simultaneously, and benchmark tests have shown it can increase application performance for some server applications by as much as 30 percent. In an ESX server running multiple virtual machines, this can be a significant advantage to increase performance and flexibility.

Multi-core processors
Intel is on a track to deliver dual-core and then multi-core processors, which will continue to increase total server power and flexibility for virtualized environments. In conjunction with Hyper-Threading, a 2-way box with dual-core processors will support up to 8 simultaneous tasks; a 4-way box up to 16 tasks; an 8-way box up to 32 tasks; and a 16-way box up to 64 tasks.

64-bit Virtual Machine will be support in ESX, which will enable IT organizations to support a much broader range of business applications in a virtual environment. They will be able to fun both 64-bit and 32-bit OS on the same server, and each 64-bit OS will be able to host both 64-bit and 32-bit applications. This flexibility will enable IT organizations to plan and implement selective and incremental 64-bit software migrations, to optimize ROI based on specific business and application requirements.

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