TristanT
Contributor
Contributor

FT and CPU Compatibility

Our new (<12 months old) CPUs in production (Intel E7340 Quad Core) are not listed as compatible with FT. Please say this is a documentation oversight! Anyone in the same situation? Anyone address this with VMware?

Thanks all...

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10 Replies
HyperViZor
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Welcome to the club! I'm having the same situation. One of my clusters is running 3 IBM x3850 monster rack servers with 4 x pCPUs (x7350 @ 2.93GHz), so this is going to be a killer for anyone who invested in a scale-up approach for his clusters.

Fortunately, I'm getting new 4 IBM x3850 stuffed with 4 x 6-core (X7460 @ 2.66GHz) specifically for vSphere, plus, a new nehalem based blades for scaling out gradually (there is no support for nehalem on 4-way servers until Q4 2009).

Regards

Hany Michael

HyperViZor.com | Virtualization, and everything around it

Hany Michael
HyperViZor.com | The Deep Core of The Phenomena
TristanT
Contributor
Contributor

Very frustrating for lots of enterprise customers! I'm hoping that some uber-geek can describe a technical reason why these processors won't work for FT. Is there some 65nm CPU limitation? Some CPU feature limitation?

Basically FT isn't going to be an option in our environment for a really long time. That is unless this is a documentation oversight (crossing fingers)....

Oh well, I guess we'll continue doing MSCS for really important apps...

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AndreTheGiant
Immortal
Immortal

It seems that only 45nm Intel Xeon and only Barcellona AMD could work for FT.

There are also several on-offical matrix:

http://www.gabesvirtualworld.com/?p=456

Anyway from 21th we will exactly know which kind of CPU will be required.

Andre

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Andre | http://about.me/amauro | http://vinfrastructure.it/ | @Andrea_Mauro
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Texiwill
Leadership
Leadership

Hello,

There are some intrinsic features that are required. Unfortunately, what those features are are not listed other than we know they need:

Intel-VT or AMD RVI

Some say you need 'lockstep' but that may not be true as some with lockstep are not supported

The questions is what features are required. I wish someone would provide that answer instead of a matrix.


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cartierhung
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Many of enterprise customer may encounter this issue, I also would like to know if any technical reason that Xeon 5300 and Xeon 7300 series is not supported, while Xeon 5200 series is supported.

Just because those supported is 45nm while other is 65nm? but what 'features' is missing from those 65nm CPUs (I check the CPU comparison chart in Intel website but can't figure out any difference)

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TomTHR
Contributor
Contributor

The required CPU feature is probably the same as what Marathon requires for everRun Level 3 (FT lockstep) protected VMs… (In contrast Marathon’s Level 2 component-level fault tolerance does not require this feature.) In Intel terms, the feature is called SMM freeze.

SMM freeze (enhancements to Intel’s SMM implementation first implemented in i386SL) is a feature of Intel Penryn CPUs and all 45 nm implementations. The “Processor Number” indicates eligible CPUs, but there is also a minimum microcode requirement that must be met (latest BIOS tends to incorporate the microcode).

Since system management interrupts (SMIs) cannot be delivered synchronously across the two hosts, SMM freeze capabilities can better mask issues that might be detected as differences between VM instances running on two different hosts, after returning from system management mode.

To read a bit more, a brief explanation of SMIs can be found at .

I hope this helps.

Tom

Tom Reed Senior Technical Evangelist Marathon Technologies
TristanT
Contributor
Contributor

Thanks for that info Tom! Always nice to know the reason behind these limitations. Pretty frustrating situation since we had been buying HP blades with the 7340 CPUs and had thought we were on "modern" production grade hardware. Oh well...

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cartierhung
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Thanks TomTHR for sharing the info, and this also means VMware need to work hard to identify the technical issue in order to support multiple vCPU.

That means from now on, FT is not a 'very significant advantage' when compare vSphere with other hypervisor, as there has solution that work in XenServer, and it also mention Marathon is working with Microsoft on Hyper-V, not to mention that some other competitor may buy that company in order to secure the similar solution.

one thing interest me is their 'Hardware Qualifications' list show 'everRun HA and everRun FT' support E51xx and E53xx... but not support 55xx series yet...

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TomTHR
Contributor
Contributor

Very astute observation. I hope we're not getting too far into our own products here but I wanted to address the latest question. My apologies to the forum if this is too Marathon product specific.

Providing fault tolerance via software requires extremely close interaction with the hardware, including processors and memory, as you can probably imagine. As such, as new processors are released we are sometimes required to make code changes to support their latest architectures. This is the case with the 55xx series of Intel processors. We currently have a patch to allow installation of everRun HA and FT onto servers utilizing these processors and will soon be releasing a product update that incorporates this change into the base product.

Tom Reed

Senior Technical Evangelist

Marathon Technologies

Tom Reed Senior Technical Evangelist Marathon Technologies
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admin
Immortal
Immortal

Apologies that we didn't have a statement out about this sooner...

VMware collaborated with AMD and Intel in providing an efficient VMware Fault Tolerance (FT) capability on modern x86 processors. The collaboration required small changes in both the performance counter architecture and virtualization hardware assists of both Intel and AMD. These changes could only be included in recent processors from both vendors: 3rd-Generation AMD Opteron™ based on the AMD Barcelona, Budapest and Shanghai processor families; and Intel® Xeon® processors based on the Penryn and Nehalem microarchitectures and their successors.

The current set of supported processors are:

Intel® Xeon® 3100 Series, Wolfdale (UP)

Intel® Xeon® 3300 Series, Yorkfield

Intel® Xeon® 5200 Series, Wolfdale (DP)

Intel® Xeon® 5400 Series, Harpertown

Intel® Xeon® 7400 Series, Dunnington

Intel® Xeon® 5500 Series, Nehalem

AMD Opteron™ 1300 Series, Budapest

AMD Opteron™ 2300 Series, Barcelona (65nm, DP) and Shanghai (45nm, DP)

AMD Opteron™ 8300 Series, Barcelona (65nm, MP) and Shanghai (45nm, MP)

The KB (http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1008027) provides a complete list of supported processors.

You can download a utility, VMware SiteSurvey (http://www.vmware.com/download/shared_utilities.html) to check if your configuration can run VMware FT.

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