The decision around virtualization servers often comes down to 2 socket or 4 sockets. This week we will focus the chat on the advantages of each and how to choose between them.

Technical Community - Background Reading

5/21/2008 - Chat Transcript - Selecting the Right Server for Virtualization
Server Decision Matrix Wiki
VMotion Compatibility for Dell Servers
Virtualization Frontier Blog

Chat Transcript

Dell-ToddM Hello Bridgieb78
DELL-ScottH joined.
Dell-ToddM Welcome Scott
DELL-ScottH Hey Todd !
Dell-ToddM We're going to wait until a few minutes after the hour to get started
Dell-ToddM This gives everybody a chance to get connected
Dell-ToddM bridgieb78 - If there is anything specific that you want to chat about we can chat about it a bit now
bridgieb78 Nope, I'm just waiting to hear what you guys have to say. ::smile
DELL-ScottH usually talking about the best places for lunch :-)
Dell-ToddM Speaking of lunch
bridgieb78 I saw that the topic is which servers to get for virtualization. I am under the impression that lots of memory, quad-core Cpu systems with good I/o is the way to go
Dell-ToddM I think that Chuy's deserves a mention here
Dell-ToddM Yes - You are correct about quad-core and lots of Ram
Dell-ToddM The problem is that is now a description of most of our servers
bridgieb78 any specific suggestions when it comes to Dell servers - model, ram and Cpu?
Dell-ToddM Yes - I do have some suggestions / recommendations
Dell-ToddM Let me offically start the chat
DELL-ScottH Todd, roger just called, he can't get on from Parmer, I think Dell It has shut down the chat ports
Dell-ToddM Welcome to the Techtuesday chat on Selecting a Virtualization Server - 2-socket or 4 Sockets
Dell-ToddM I guess that Dell It was busy over the long weekend
DELL-ScottH guess so, maybe we'll get more customers, and they can view the transcript later
Dell-ToddM bridgeieb78 - There is no one single server that I can recommend for all.
Dell-ToddM It depends on what your virtulization requirements are
Dell-ToddM How many Vms and Servers you will have
bridgieb78 well, with an average workload and 20 Vms runing on an Esx server, say
Dell-ToddM So it is really more of a process where, the more info you get - the better a decision you can make
bridgieb78 yeah
Dell-ToddM So lets go through your specifics
Dell-ToddM What types of workload will be running in the Vms?
Dell-ToddM When Vms will be running basically a legacy consolidation workload - where older Physical servers have been migrated into Vm
Dell-ToddM A higher number of Vms can be run on a single server
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Dell-ToddM When the Vms are running Exchange 2007 or Sql Server workloads - there could be as few as 2
Dell-ToddM Additionally, the type of workload running can dictate how much you care about high availability
Dell-ToddM With Test and Dev - an outage of several hours may be no big deal
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DELL-ScottH welcome irina
Dell-ToddM Exchange typically needs to be up all the time - with downtime measured in seconds
Dell-ToddM Welcom Irina
DELL-ScottH use "action .. recent room history" to catch up on the chat
Irina_diaz Thanks!
Dell-ToddM We were just chatting about how Vm workload type can play a role in deciding what type of server to select
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Dell-ToddM But - we would really rather talk about what you want to talk about
DELL-ScottH hey marc
dell-marc yo!
Dell-ToddM Marc - Welcome
Dell-ToddM We have had some technical difficulties getting people connected it appears
Dell-ToddM Any problem for you?
Dell-ToddM So
Dell-ToddM The short of it is that there are lots of things that can be part of the decision of what server to use for virtualization.
Dell-ToddM I think that the three most people end up picking between are 2-socket, 4-socket, and blades
Dell-ToddM Today we are focusing on the 2 vs 4 socket part of the question
Dell-ToddM The two 2-socket servers are the 2950iii and R805
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DELL-ScottH hi robby
Dell-ToddM The 2950iii is intel based and leads the Vmmark performance benchmark for 2-socket servers
DELL-ScottH use "action" ... "recent room history" to catch up
Dell-ToddM The R805 is Amd based, has twice as many Dimm slots and onboard Nics as the 2950iii
Dell-ToddM The R805 was designed for virtualization and that is why it has so much Ram and I/o while still maintaining a 2U form factor
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Dell-ToddM On the four-socket server side the two systems are the R900 and R905
Dell-ToddM Their specs are very similar - except the R900 is Intel based and the R905 is Amd based
dell-marc What are the Nic specs for these?
Dell-ToddM 2950iii - 2 onboard Nics
Robby As far as virtualization is concerned, are there any major benchmark differences between intel and amd?
Dell-ToddM R805, R900, R905 - 4 onboard Nics
Robby What are the number of available expansion slots between the 2950 and 900 platforms?
Dell-ToddM The Intel systems lead the Amd systems by a little bit in the Vmmark benchmark
Dell-ToddM The link to the Vmmark site - is
Dell-ToddM The 2950 has three Pci slots, The R900 has 7 Pci
Dell-ToddM I've put together a wiki page that summarizes the server specs side by side -
Dell-ToddM Be sure to right click to follow these links - so you don't get disconnected from the chat
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Dell-ToddM Robby - Are you only looking at Intel based servers?
Dell-ToddM There is the issue of Vmotion compatibility that sometimes leads people to stick with one processor type
Robby we've actually settled on the r900s.
Dell-ToddM I really like the R900 that we have in our lab - because it has 128gb of Ram
Dell-ToddM How cool is that?
Robby you've got to love the scalable features that come along with the R900s.
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Dell-ToddM I'm expecting to receive a couple of R805s this week - which will have 64GB or Ram each
Dell-ToddM The most amazing thing to me about this is the price of servers with 128 Gb and 64 Gb
Dell-ToddM The list price of the R805 with 64GB of Ram and top bin procs is under 10K (see - additional legal disclaimers inserted here :-)
Robby there really wasn't that much of a difference when we spec'd out the 32GB Ram and the 64 Gb Ram systems.
Dell-ToddM True - Ram isn't as big a driver of the cost of the server as it was in the past
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Dell-ToddM Although if you put 128gb of Ram in an R805 - the price does go up quite a bit becuase it has to use the 8GB Dimms to get there
Dell-MarcF So what about 2 versus 4 core? What are the general cost differences between them?
Dell-ToddM You can basically get either 2 two-sockets or 1 four socket for about the same total hardware cost
Dell-ToddM The license cost for Vmware can be a difference - two-socket license for Vmware is less than half of a four-socket Vmware license
Dell-MarcF socket 2 me
Robby that's pretty good
Dell-ToddM From an availability standpoint, two-sockets are much more affordable
Dell-ToddM As it is less expensive to have N+1
Dell-ToddM When the +1 is a two-socket server instead of a four-socket server
Dell-ToddM This becomes less of an issue in larger deployments, but if you are only going to have 2 or 3 servers
Dell-ToddM Then it can be a big difference
Dell-ToddM Part of this availability or disaster conversation is the egg basket issue
Dell-ToddM How many eggs do you want to put in one basket?
Dell-ToddM This really becomes a comfort level question with Vmware Ha or clustering
Dell-ToddM How fast can you recover or failover an entire server worth of Vms?
Dell-ToddM There isn't a right or wrong answer to this question - it is more of an opinion in how to run a farm of virtualization servers
Dell-ToddM One area that doesn't get as much attention as it did about a year ago is power consumption.
Dell-ToddM It can be more power efficient to use two-socket servers as they have higher performance per socket than four-socket servers
Dell-MarcF Todd you mentioned vmotion compatibility between intel and amd. Are there known problems with this?
Dell-ToddM Today - you cannot Vmotion between Amd and Intel servers
Dell-ToddM Even between servers of the same processor type (intel or Amd) you must be using the same generation to do Vmotion
Dell-MarcF Have I been asleep for not knowing this? Is this gernal knowledge?
Robby this is somewhat true on different chip platforms within the same manufatcurer, correct?
Dell-MarcF Ok, so I've been sleeping.
Dell-ToddM As you can see in the chart that Scott linked to , there are even cases where you can't Vmotion between the same generation of Dell Server
DELL-ScottH Marc, it's uber technical :-) ... you being the storage guy ... it's all just ball bearings to you :-)
Dell-MarcF Oooooooooooohhhhhhh
DELL-ScottH 1's and 0's
Dell-ToddM There is some effort under way to make these issues go away with future generations of processors and virtualization software - but the arrival date of this is unkown
Dell-ToddM Why does the word uber keep coming up today?
Dell-MarcF Simple matter of programming
DELL-ScottH I don't know I think we are trying to make it our own ... like the Vps have "laser-focus" and "synergy" .. we want "uber"
Dell-ToddM Yes - we should try to make uber a part of every chat
Dell-MarcF rhymes with tuber
DELL-ScottH uber-cool
Dell-MarcF a great potato is an uber tuber
DELL-ScottH lol
Robby is this how most of the sessions wind down :-)
DELL-ScottH usually
Dell-ToddM Sometimes - esp after long holiday weekend
Dell-MarcF but it grows under ground!
DELL-ScottH Todd ! Uber me ! .. I'm capping the point !
Dell-ToddM Robby - Anything else you want to ask / discuss?
Robby no i'm good. thanks
Dell-ToddM I would also like to thank Marc for padding our numbers and logging in twice!
DELL-ScottH yeahhh ! marc !
Dell-MarcF my brouser frozer
Robby i noticed scott logging in and out several times.
Dell-MarcF ice old java
DELL-ScottH I accidently clicked on a link
Robby take care
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Dell-ToddM Due to some problems with getting conected and the holiday weekend - I think attendance was a bit low today - so we need number padding!
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Dell-ToddM Join us next week when we will chat about using blades for virtualization.
Dell-ToddM Thanks to all!