For a while ago, I had spoken to my team and friends about the amazing concept if we do able to use the HPC concept to scale our Server hardware in term of processors, memory and I/O without increasing the amount of ESX server in the Virtual Environment. I remember the question had been raised to the VMware representative and this is not in the road map for the ESX servers. 2 days back when I attended the seminar in town and I found this interesting server which is IBM X3950 M2 had been presented with the capabilities I had been looked around. Some of my friend may think the idea of doing this is crazy or over limit, but in real scenario, you will realize the benefits in term of managing and scaling from time to time when you managing a real huge environment with a massive amount of Virtual Machines.

The IBM x3950 M2 provide with scalable version on 1TB of memory and maximum of 96 cores. The concept of doing this is basically scale as on demand. Each of the X3950 M2 is contained 4 physical CPU sockets which support up to current 6 cores processors from Intel and 256GB of physical memory. The chassis itself allow for further expansion of 3 additional of X3950 M2, and able to combine the resources in term of CPU, Memory and I/O module to become single host. Why is scale on demand? The answer is simple, as you start with 1, and scale to 4. When you scale the machine, it scale the I/O, processing power, and total number of memory, still you are managing single host. As HA/DRS is always important to us, you may end up which only require to manage 2 ESX host from the virtual center with this design. If we compare with the traditional way we manage the ESX host, we might end up managing 8 different ESX host. Of course, there are always pros and cons, but I still think that this idea is not bad as we may looking at virtualizing some powerful machine in the future, which you may require more processors and memory per VM. Personally, I am aiming to even run the heavy database environment in a virtual mode as the reason of doing this is not cost but is the important and flexibility we gain from Virtualization Vs Physical Environment always. At the same time, the competition between Intel and AMD had drive the processors power to be increased to the level that we may not able to fully utilize it in 90% of the environment we have today, except Virtualization. VMware is going to support 256GB per VM in the next release. It will not surprise to have such powerful machine like IBM to provide the resources to those who may require having it. Again, this is quite similar to the Z system as IBM is working on SUSE Linux installable on Z system, and able to provision the Xen’s VM to achieve 1:100 easily( This had been communicated by Novell during the seminar in town previously ). Now we may able to do the same for x86 platform and will be interesting to see whether this concept will be another next hot item to the market.
I may think the combination of IBM X3950 M2 with Xsigo Virtual I/O director will be something as perfect match for massive performance and volume for Virtualization. Of course, I believe the cost of this will require additional consideration for us to proceed further.