Server virtualization, for which VMware is the dominant vendor, has gained ground among OEM appliance manufacturers as a more flexible, higher-value delivery platform. This blog entry continues a series of three in which we explore the factors contributing to and inhibiting OEM success with server virtualization, HP and Bell Micro roles in that success, and the future of where virtualization can take the OEM community.
As most know, Intel has been in a race to offer better processing performance with the goal of enabling better server consolidation. Their XEON 5500 series offers “the best generation to generation performance gain ever seen” by Intel, according to Bryce Olson who works in Intel’s data center product group. The server compression that results is 9 or 10 to 1, with the XEON 5600 promising 12:1 ratios. This type of compression along with the XEON’s energy efficiency features enable cost recapture within 12 months, according to Olson.
“We’ve always been the leader in database and ERP processing,” explains Olson. “Until now, floating point processing has not been our strength. That all changes with the XEON.”
What’s more, the XEON is specifically designed to enable some of VMware’s latest capabilities in its vSphere release. When asked, Olson explains that Intel has partnered actively with VMware to enable so-called 2.0 benefits.
“VMware has to get beyond consolidation and cost savings benefits to be really meaningful to administration teams,” states Olson. “The real promise of VMware’s technology is that it can change how applications are managed in virtual environments. Intel XEON includes VT FlexMigration to enable applications to migrate across multiple generations of XEON processors without disrupting services.”
Olson further describes direct-to-Virtual Machine connectivity that provides better processing flow and traffic management for VMware systems. I/O virtualization technology also improves latency and throughput for these systems.
Intel calls these features hardware-assist capabilities designed into its processors, chip sets, and network interface silicon. Intel claims that adding hardware-assist to any individual system component can optimize performance on that system better than optimizing the operating environment alone, and it only makes sense.
Intel seems to be aligning its processors to support the top priorities for organizations adopting VMware and virtual server technologies, such as high availability, disaster recovery, and real-time workload balancing.
HP has made it easy for its OEM customers to get access to these benefits by offering its next-generation ProLiant G6 servers with Intel’s XEON 5500 processors. HP fully support a mix of ProLiant servers based on different generations of Intel XEON processors in virtual resource pools.
Intel VT FlexMigration and VMware Enhanced VMotion technologies enable applications to be moved in across systems in these pools, for better real-time workload balancing and migration options. HP completes the virtualization story with tools for storage management that include discovery of virtual servers and VMware hypervisors, topology mapping for server-to-storage connections, VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) integration, and Virtual Connect Flex-10 technology which virtualizes server connections to both networks and storage.
This is all good news for OEMs working with Bell Micro. For these vendors, gaining access to better capabilities for virtualization should be a smooth transition of working with one generation of ProLiant servers to the next.
Since HP and Intel have included features that enable different generations to work together seamlessly, OEM vendors should be able to offer the best possible value from VMware “2.0” capabilities like Enhanced VMotion software. So, when a customer needs to move workloads between OEM appliances or recover at a disaster site, they can combine workloads across different generations of the OEM appliances. OEM vendors gain upsell and cross-sell opportunities with this type of platform flexibility.
To promote their combined capabilities, HP, VMware and Intel have teamed up to create unique solutions for OEMs. Together, they promise to help customers lower costs, increase utilization, and gain agility. Bell Micro can help OEMs harness the power of these solutions by designing them into their current product offerings and taking their scalability to a whole new level.
Part 1 in this 3-part series discuss how VMware is gaining ground as a better OEM platform and what benefits OEMs derive from HP and Bell Micro services and support.