EllettIT
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Enthusiast

Planning to replace current ESX hosts, AMD or Intel?

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So I'm looking to replace our current Dell PE 2950 servers using Xeon 5300 series processors (2 Proc's per server) with newer hardware. I'm looking at the current Dell models and trying to decide on which server to go with. I've narrowed it down to the R710 (2 socket), R715 (2 socket), or R810 (4 socket but will only use 2). Here's a quick breakdown of the build out:

R710 - 2 5670 Proc's (6 core 2.93 GHz), 96 GB Ram, dual PS, etc

R810 - 2 7560 Proc's (8 Core 2.26 GHz), 96 GB Ram, daul PS, etc

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AndreTheGiant
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licenses for vSphere Advanced so I think we're ok up to 12 processor cores

Right. So you can consider CPU with a lot of cores Smiley Happy

Would that present a problem with the new servers having AMD CPU's?

No. VM files are independend on CPU type.

The AMD configuration seems very nice... If is also cheaper go on it.

The R710 and R810 with only 2 CPU are quite the same... so (unless special offer) do not consider the R810 at all.

Andre

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

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EllettIT
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Ok, sorry but my pc freaked out before I finished this...

Add this to the last line above:

R715 2 6176SE Proc's (12 core 2.3 GHz), 96 GB Ram, dual PS, etc

The R715 is the cheapest with R710 coming in at about 1500.00 more and the R815 at about 5500.00 more. I'm not hung up on processor speed just looking to realy expand our capabilities. The reason I'm staying with 2 socket servers is so that I don't have to increase my licensing costs. We'll be replacing 3 hosts and we're running vSphere Advanced edition.

I guess I'm looking for some input on whether it's worth it to spend the extra $ and stay with Intel (I'm not a fan boy either way) or save some cash and move to AMD. Also, I seem to remember at some point in the past moving to different processors could cause problems. Is that still the case?

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FredPeterson
Expert
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Your only problem with moving to different vendors on the CPU is vMotion doesn't work between the two without some extra work put in place.

I would consider faster processors, perhaps even the hexa-core's from Intel on the non-quad socket side of things.

AndreTheGiant
Immortal
Immortal

If you plan to keep also old server, stay on Intel.

Note also that there is a core limit on each edition of ESX/ESXi... so first check your edition, then choose the right CPU:

http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/buy/small_business_editions_comparison.html

Andre

Andre | http://about.me/amauro | http://vinfrastructure.it/ | @Andrea_Mauro
EllettIT
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

We currently have vCenter Foundation and 6 CPU licenses for vSphere Advanced so I think we're ok up to 12 processor cores. I'm not sure how the actual rollout would go but I would like to retire the existing servers (Gen 1 2950's which we had already that we upgraded with Gen II motherboards so we could use the 5300 series processors... it was a mess to implement) since they won't be supportable any longer.

I guess I would shut VM's down, remove them from inventory on the old servers then add them back on the new servers. Would that present a problem with the new servers having AMD CPU's?

Also, in regards to the CPU speeds etc I may be wrong in looking at it like this but here's the breakdown on what each system would offer as a total for 3 servers:

R715 AMD 6176SE = 165,600 MHz total processing power

R710 Intel 5670 = 105,480 MHz total processing power

R810 Intel 7560 = 108,480 MHz total processing power

It seems like the AMD system is the winner here assuming there would be no issues making the transistion from Intel to AMD. However, if saving a few thousand dollars means several weeks of headacks then it cancels itself out in my mind.

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AndreTheGiant
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licenses for vSphere Advanced so I think we're ok up to 12 processor cores

Right. So you can consider CPU with a lot of cores Smiley Happy

Would that present a problem with the new servers having AMD CPU's?

No. VM files are independend on CPU type.

The AMD configuration seems very nice... If is also cheaper go on it.

The R710 and R810 with only 2 CPU are quite the same... so (unless special offer) do not consider the R810 at all.

Andre

Andre | http://about.me/amauro | http://vinfrastructure.it/ | @Andrea_Mauro
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EllettIT
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Yes, I'm thinking the R715's are the way to go as well. Now all I have to do is decide what to do with my SAN :S

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meistermn
Expert
Expert

First did you look at the vmark results.

http://www.vmware.com/products/vmmark/results.html

So the Fujitsu Fujitsu RX300 S6 is equal from vmmark perspective like the dell r710

The dell r810 vmmark is although 26 tiles.

The HP DL 385 G7 vmmark 22 Tiles is equal to to Dell R715 vmmark.

So from vmmark perspective intel is with less cores faster the the amd.

Fujitsu Fujitsu RX300 S6

VMware ESX v4.0 Update 2 VMmark v1.1.1

35.07@27 tiles

View Disclosure 2 sockets

12 total cores

24 total threads 08/10/10

Dell Dell PowerEdge R810

VMware ESX v4.0 Update 2 VMmark v1.1.1

37.28@26 tiles

View Disclosure 2 sockets

16 total cores

32 total threads 07/27/10

HP HP ProLiant DL385 G7

VMware ESX v4.0 Update 1 VMmark v1.1.1

30.96@22 tiles

View Disclosure 2 sockets

24 total cores

24 total threads 05/04/10

Second what kind of application do run?

Integer

Floating Point

Single Thread

Multithread

Intel is better in single thread -> Choose Westmere CPU for single thread application.

AMD is good in floating point and multithread.

So the cpu is most influenced by the application behavior.

The dell R810 which uses intel nehalem ex cpu's has the new mca features. This features will be support in esx 5.0

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EllettIT
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Applications are pretty much all over the place, you have your traditional Windows stuff (Exchange, Active Directory, File Shares, Print Servers) several Application servers, several web servers, etc. I'm not sure I could single it out that way. I do like that link though, pretty much exactly what I was looking for. With the benchmarks would the amount of RAM in each server scew those figures or is it really a CPU type benchmark. The reason I ask is the R810 listed has 256 GB RAM, the Cisco server with the Intel 5680 processors has 192 GB RAM while the HP 580 G7 only has 128 GB RAM.

I promise I'm not banging AMD's drum, I just want to make an informed decision Smiley Happy

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Hardison
Contributor
Contributor

If it helps, I have a colleague that just transitioned from 14 Dell PE 2950s to 6 Dell PE R710s and he is seeing around 40% utilization in the new cluster vs. ~70% in the old 2950 cluster. Then again, the most senior VM guy I know swears up and down on AMD, so go figure. :smileygrin:

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