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I wanted to drop by the Server Room (it has been a while!) to let everyone reading know that this coming Thursday, January 14th, Intel and Microsoft will host a webcast on  server connectivity to iSCSI SANs and make an announcement of a breakthrough in iSCSI networking performance.

We’ll discuss how:

  • Every server ships ready for immediate iSCSI connectivity with iSCSI support embedded in Intel® Ethernet Server Adapters and the Microsoft Server Operating System in both physical boot  and virtualized environments.
  • Intel and Microsoft collaborated on the latest releases, Windows Server 2008 R2, Intel®Xeon® 5500 Processor Server Platform and Intel® Ethernet 10GbE Server Adapters to deliver breakthrough performance and new I/O and iSCSI features.
  • Intel and Microsoft are ensuring that native iSCSI products can scale to meet the demands of cost conscious medium size businesses and large Enterprise class data centers.
  • Intel® Ethernet Server Adapters provide hardware acceleration for native Windows Server Network and Storage protocols to deliver great iSCSI performance, while allowing IT Administrators to utilize native, trusted, fully compatible OS protocols.  This is critical because for any protocol or technology to be successful on Ethernet it must adopt the plug-and-plays economies of scale characteristics of the ubiquitous Ethernet network to be successful.  Native iSCSi in the OS and Intel adapters does just this, which had led to the tremendous growth iSCSI has experienced over the last 3 years.
  • Intel and Microsoft are addressing the challenges of server virtualization network connectivity with Server 2008 R2 to deliver near-native performance and features.

Please join Jordan Plawner, Intel Senior Product Planner for Storage Networking and Suzanne Morgan, Microsoft Senior Program Manager, Windows Storage, to hear the big news. 

Register for the webcast now!

After the webcast I'll be back to blog a quick summary, but I strongly encourage you to tune in... some pretty amazing developments here!

-- Ben Hacker


What happened to vConsolidate?

Posted by gwagnon Jan 12, 2010

As one of the 'owners' of vConsolidate for the last nearly 3 years... I would like to clarify just what we (Intel) did with the benchmark as a little insight for the folks that wrote and read this article:  Does anyone care about virtualization performance in 2010?


Early 2009, we stopped development and maintenance of the benchmark.  It is however still used by several companies for their own internal testing and evaluation of server configurations.  We no longer support external publication of vConsolidate benchmark results.


Prior to this, it was available to customers via direct contact with me and my team.  I have a list (that I cannot share, sorry) of companies (OEM's, ISV's, Finance, Tech, Medical, Auto, Insurance, and others) who requested access over the last few years and used vConsolidate in their own test lab environments.  That was after all a primary goal of the benchmark;  internal evaluation of server systems for a virtualization environment.  Its goal from the start was not to become an industry standard benchmark.  But rather, it was always designed and maintained essentially as a test tool.  Although, for a lack of any other solution, it crossed that boundry on some occasions (with approvals of course).


In terms of virtualization solutions, VMMark came about at roughly the same time period and had roughly the same test scenario's involved as did vConsolidate.  The most often discussed comparison is that VMMark focuses on VMWare environments, where vConsolidate allowed for multiple hypervisor configurations.  One key difference that most people do not often call out is that VMWare made a benchmark for publicly evaluating server configurations, we made vConsolidate as a test tool for internal labs to evaluate server configurations.  Customers needed something to test with in non-VMWare test environment, so vConsolidate was updated slightly, given a GUI, and offered as a tool they could use.  But it was still primarily only for internal evaluation.


Why did we stop development, maintenance, and essentially offering vConsolidate out as a virtualization environment test solution?  Well, the short answer is that SPEC has had their own version of a virtualization benchmark forthcoming that would supersede what vConsolidate offers.  We fed a lot of what we learned from our efforts on vConsolidate to the SPEC committee... as members, we leverage our experience.  Ultimatly, we decided that supporting an industry accepted/developed benchmark is better for customers.


As far as the question of 'does anyone care about virtualization benchmarks in 2010'.  I guarantee the answer is yes.


There you have it, some insights.

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