damiri
Contributor
Contributor

best processor for ESX server ?

Hello

I beleive there are tons of documents from Intel and AMD about who is better for virtualization purpose ( I know other components plays their part but here I would like to focus on processors). However, I would like to hear comments from this communitiy here since I know you have real life expeirence with this. Our customer is picking up HP c-3000 bladesystem and we have wide range of blades to use with XEON/Itanium/AMD Opteron processor support. Also I thing two-processor blade is enough for # of VM they are planning to run on each blade. It only matter of getting most for the money. So let me know your recommendations ...

Best regards,

damiri

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23 Replies
WillGreen
Contributor
Contributor

I see the problem. The 2356 is an older "Barcelona" Opteron. The newer "Shanghai" Opterons have quite significant improvements:

  • Memory bandwidth increased from 667 MHz to 800 MHz

  • L3 cache Increased from 2 MB to 6 MB

  • Enhanced rapid virtualization indexing (RVI)

  • Clock speed increased to 2.3 - 2.7 GHz

The newer processors are models 2376, 2378, 2380, 2382, 2384 (running at 2.3 - 2.7 GHz).

This makes a big differences to virtualization performance, if you check out Anadtech's VMark graphs:

You can see an 8356 (the 4/8 CPU server version of the 2.3 GHz CPU you're running) the score is 14.28, for the 2.7GHz 8384 it's 20.35.

In other words, the Shanghai 2.7GHz part is 43% faster than the older 2.3GHz Barcelona part. I suspect this explains why the Xeon-based BL 460 was faster than your Opteron-based BL 495.

The "Shanghai" Opterons have only been out since November. If HP gave you the BL 495 after that I'd really have expected them to give you one with the newer CPUs Smiley Happy

NB. I have no connection with Intel, AMD or Anandtech (other than being a customer of both of the former and reading the latter).

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smudger
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Will,

Thanks for the posting and article. Our testing was performed back in October, when of course the Barcelona chipset was only available.

That said, and with Shanghai now available the price/performance what it is, what are peoples thoughts on having a VI estate of Intel and AMD clusters? By this I mean you may have an existing investment in Intel (and various ESX clusters) and by moving to AMD you would have new clusters using AMD technology.

Rgds,

Neil

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WillGreen
Contributor
Contributor

Thought you might be interested to know that the BL 495 has recently appeared in the official VMWare VMmark results table: http://www.vmware.com/products/vmmark/results.html

It's second for 8 core systems, marginally behind a 2U HP and marginally ahead of a 2U Dell. All the top three systems are using the 2.7GHz Opteron 2384. I expect it'll all change when Nehalem appears, but Opteron does seem to be ahead for now. Obviously VMmark is only one benchmark and won't be typical of all workloads, etc. etc.

Got some hands on with half-height blades today and they're very compact. It's impressive that they are a match for 2U rack mounts that are only 1/3 the density (you could have 5 2U servers in 10U or 16 half-height blades).

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smudger
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Thanks. I'm very tempted to revisit the BL495 with Shanghai processors, it's now a very good value prop.

I came across this on how the Nahelem is doing (might need to brush up on your German tho) , later in the year should give us another big performance bump

Half height rocks! Long live the blade!

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