Posts Tagged ‘replacing AMD with Nehalem’

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Nehalem-EP: Your Best Consolidation Option?

April 21, 2009

Intel’s Nehalem is new and sexy, but currently limited to 2P platforms. This fact is forcing Intel to refer customers to their aging Xeon 7400 series (based on the older “Core” architecture, not Nehalem)  for 4P solutions and those seeking higher consolidation ratios. Still, leading equipment and solution vendors are scrambling to build offerings around the 2P-only Nehalem due to its significant value proposition over aging, dead-end Intel technology that can not keep-up in an increasingly virtualized world.

Intel asks you to “replace nine (single-core) servers” with one 2P Nehalem system and promises to “deliver ROI in 8-months” based on power savings alone. This “enhanced value proposition” is a compelling component of a solution providers’ foot-in-the-door strategy to lay-out system, storage and virtualization refreshes. The goal: higher consolidation rates and better virtualized performance promised by Nehalem (better results can be achieved with AMD Shanghai – see below). But with no 4P or 8P offerings is Nehalem the only option? Better yet, is it even a cost effective “refresh” option?

To understand the value proposition of Nehalem in an increasingly virtualized world, we need to identify the key benefits of the technology and how a single 2P system can replace 9 2P/1C systems. Simply put, Nehalem represents the most current virtualization hardware offering from Intel, finally bringing it to parity with AMD’s quad-core offering which has proved itself over the last 18-months. Its updated quad-cores, IPC, bus architecture and hardware assisted virtualization technologies deliver capabilities that older single-core systems can not match.

EPT and RVI – Hardware Virtualization Enhancements

AMD introduced its hardware assisted virtualization in 2006 with AMD-V (code named Pacifica) available in all processors supporting Socket-F and AM2 platforms (except the low-end Semperon). This technology enabled Xen-based hypervisors – lacking broad binary translation engines – to virtualize operating systems without modification. Intel later countered lead with Intel VT-x in its Itanium and Pentium D 662/672 desktop processors in 2005.  Intel added VT-x capability to Xeon processors in 2H/2006. Intel makes VT-x available in some Core and Core2 processors, Xeon 3000/5000/7000 and Core i7 processors. No Celeron, Pentium Dual-Core (prior to 662) or Pentium M processors have this feature. Read the rest of this entry ?