Posts Tagged ‘Quick Take’

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Quick Take: PC Pro Recommends 4-node-in-2U Platform

June 17, 2009

Boston Limited UK has recently received a “recommended” rating from PC Pro UK for its 4-node-in-2U platform with AMD’s Istanbul processor on-board. Dubbed the “Boston Quattro 6000GP” and following-up on the 2-node-in-1U “Boston 3000GP” platform, this systems allows for 4-nodes with 2x AMD Istanbul processors per node. This formula yields 8 processors (48 cores) in 2U resulting in a core density of over 1,000 cores per standard 42U rack.

Computational density like this is bound for virtualization and HPC clusters. Judging from the recent reports on Istanbul’s virtualization potential and HPL performance, this combination offers a compelling platform alternative to blade computing. In its review, PC Pro UK touched on the platform’s power consumption, saying:

“In idle we saw one, two, three and four nodes draw a total of 234W, 349W, 497W and 630W. Under pressure these figures rose to 345W, 541W, 802W and 1026W respectively. Even if you could find an application that pushed the cores this hard you’ll find each server node draws a maximum of 256W – not bad for a 12-core system. Dell’s PowerEdge R900, reviewed in our sister title IT Pro, has four 130W X7450 six-core processors and that consumes 778W under heavy load.”

PC Pro, UK

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Quick Take: AMD Istanbul Update

May 21, 2009

AMD was gracious enough to invite us to their Reviewer’s Day on May 20th to have a final look at “Istanbul” and discuss their plans for the product’s upcoming release. While much of the information we received is embargoed until the June, 2009 release date, we can tell you that we’ve have received a couple of AMD’s new 6-core “Istanbul” Opterons for testing and review. We’ll look forward to seeing “Istanbul” in action inside our lab over the next couple of weeks. Our verdict will be available at launch.

Instead of typical benchmarks, we’ll be focusing on Istanbul’s implications for vSphere before the new Opteron hits the streets (remember 6-core is the limit for “free” and “reduced capability” vSphere license). If what we saw from AMD’s internal testing at Reviewer’s Day is accurate , then our AMD/VMware Eco-System partners are going to be very happy with the results. What we can confirm today is that AGESA 3.3.0.3+ 3.5.0.0+ is required to run Istanbul, so start looking for BIOS updates from your vendors as the launch date approaches. The systems we reported on from Tyan back in April will be good-to-go at launch (our GT28 test systems are already running it require a beta BIOS).

SOLORI’s take: We made a somewhat bold prediction on April 30, 2009 that “Shanghai-Istanbul Eco-System looks like an economic stimulus all its own” when comparing the AMD upgrade path to Intel’s (rip and replace) where VMware infrastructures are concerned. That article, Shanghai Economics 101, was one of our most popular AMD-related postings yet, and – judging from what we’ve seen already – it looks like we may have been correct!

While we’re impressed with the ability to flawlessly vMotion from socket 940 to socket-F, we were more impressed with the ability to insert an Istanbul into a Barcelona or Shanghai system and immediately realize the benefits. We’re going to look at our review samples, revisit our price-performance data and Watt/VM calculations before making sweeping recommendation. However, we expect to find Istanbul to be a very good match to on-premise cloud/virtualization initiatives.

SOLORI’s 2nd take: VDI and databased consolidation systems running on 4P AMD boxes are about to take a giant leap forward. We can’t wait to see 24-core and 48-core VMmark scores updated over the next two months. Start asking your system vendor for updated BIOS supporting AGESA 3.5.0.0+ (Tyan are you listening? Supermicro’s AS2041M is already there), and get your 4P test mule updated and prepare to be amazed…

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Quick Take: Licensing Benefits of Virtualization

March 17, 2009

For some, the real licensing benefit of virtualization is a hidden entity. This is aided by some rather nebulous language in end user licenses from Microsoft and others.

Steve Kaplan, over at DABCC, has a brief and informative article on how licensing affects the deployment costs of virualized Microsoft products – sometimes offsetting the cost of the hypervisor costs in a VMware environment, for instance.

SOLORI’s 1st take: the virtual data center has new ways to increase costs with equal or better offsets to speed ROI – especially where new initiatives are concerned. When in doubt, talk to your software vendor and press for clear information about implementation licensing costs.

SOLORI’s 2nd take: Steve’s report relies on Gartner’s evaluation which is based on Microsoft policies that are outdated. For instance, Server 2003 R2 is NOT “the only edition that will allow the customer to run one instance in a physical operating system (OS) environment and up to four instances in virtual OS environments for one license fee.” This also applies to Server 2008… (see Microsoft links).

Check out Steve’s evaluation here. Also, see Microsoft’s updated policy here and their current Server 2003 policies here.