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Will Nehalem Change the Game?

With Intel's release of the Xeon 5500 (Nehalem) processor series, virtually all server equipment is transitioning to new model series. HP, Dell, IBM and others have all started their next line of servers to include this processor series in conjunction with Intel's release. In conjunction with the processor release, VMware released an incremental update to ESX and ESXi to support the chip.

This processor is good for virtualization, with built-in efficiency that was not there previously. According to the processor literature, one of the main efficiencies is that the Intel Virtualization Technology (Intel VT) has 40 percent reduced roundtrip latency. And there are other benefits related to hardware-assisted I/O and lowered energy consumption.

Beyond the cool features of this new processor, which has been quite the talk of the inner circles of virtualization, this may be a good time to refresh your host hardware, either for a new implementation or existing infrastructure. Specifically, you may want to purchase any requisite hosts to round out your current clusters. For example, if you have a VMware-based cluster with Xeon 7350 hosts, that series from IBM, Dell, or HP will be time limited now that the replacement products are arriving.

This processor has created a lot of excitement for some. I have not used it yet, but am excited to get into one for my next cluster. Have you used a pre-release model or already ordered gear with this new unit? Share your comments below about why you are looking forward to this chip or tell me why.

Posted by Rick Vanover on 04/06/2009 at 12:47 PM


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