TA23 Virtual Infrastructurs: Scale Up or scale out? Rack or blade form factors?

An interesting aspect of the design of a virtual infrastructue is the choice of server hardware. Should I buy few servers with 4CPU’s or more and internal memory to be able to achieve a high consolidation rate (and reduce the number of ESX licenses) or should I buy lots of servers with 1 or 2 CPU”s for preventing to have too many eggs in the same basket? And choose for blades or rack mounted servers?

This session presented by Massimo Re Ferre of IBM mentioned the pro’s and cons of the options. The room was completely full with around 200 attendees.

More on this subject can be found on Massimo his website:

IT 2.0 :  Next Generation IT infrastructures  http://it20.info/blogs/main/archive/2009/02/04/175.aspx

The presentation can be found here http://it20.info/files/3/documentation/entry186.aspx

Generally speaking the presentation was very good. What hardware is best for your infrastructure depends. Generally speaking, when you want to scale up (lots of resources per server) you better select rack mounted servers. A blade with 4 sockets does have a limited number of memory slots. To be able to utilize the CPU resources, you must have lots of memory. To reach that, you have to use expensive 8 GB memory modules. Also, a rack cannot be  filled completely with blades because of power and cooling.

Lots of cores = lots of memory

To make things worse for blades, the next generation of Intel CPU’s cores called Intel i7 will be 300% faster than the current Intel core.  

Blades = scale out and racks mounted is scale up.

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VI:OPS VMware Operations

A VMware site which might be known to everyone is VI:OPS. http://viops.vmware.com/home/index.jspa

It has a growing amount of technical information on the operations side of virtualization. Taken from the site:

“VI:OPS is the short name for Virtual Infrastructure Operations, and it is a new extension to the vmware.com communities.

If you look at the existing forums and resources, they are very focused on the products and technology from VMware with most users being VCPs / VMware administrators. However, there are some topics that aren’t covered in the existing forums (such as Availability) and the purely technical focus of the existing topics is not relevant to a whole other field of professionals that have different challenges with virtualization, like the Operations team.

To bridge this gap, we created VI:OPS to widen the discussion beyond pure, deep technical by adding five topics that VMware staff, partners and customers talk about all the time but where there is no online collaboration facility for these topics.

VI:OPS is the short name for Virtual Infrastructure Operations, and it is a new extension to the vmware.com communities.

If you look at the existing forums and resources, they are very focused on the products and technology from VMware with most users being VCPs / VMware administrators. However, there are some topics that aren’t covered in the existing forums (such as Availability) and the purely technical focus of the existing topics is not relevant to a whole other field of professionals that have different challenges with virtualization, like the Operations team.

To bridge this gap, we created VI:OPS to widen the discussion beyond pure, deep technical by adding five topics that VMware staff, partners and customers talk about all the time but where there is no online collaboration facility for these topics. “

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