4 Replies Latest reply on Mar 20, 2009 12:42 PM by K_Lloyd

    What will Nehalem mean for VMware Clusters?


      I have been hearing about the iminent release of Nehalem based servers and the significant architectural changes from previous generations but I haven't yet heard what the affect will be on clusters of VMware ESX servers?  Since this is an implementation of NUMA architecture in a XEON processor, will this mean that Nehalem based servers will need to be isolated from prior generations in separate clusters similar to AMD vs. XEON processors?  I hope not but that is what I am guessing.  What can anyone offer or add on this issue?


      Bill S.

        • 1. Re: What will Nehalem mean for VMware Clusters?
          Christopher Peters

          Bill, Thanks for your question.  Yes, because of a technology we introduced a couple years ago called Intel VT (virtualization technology) FlexMigration, you can mix / match different Xeon server technology generations (quad-core and dual-core) into a same virtualization clusters (pools).   The intel technology allows for this same compatibity to add Nehalem to the existing Xeon pools (compatible Xeon series included would be 2S xeon 5100/5300/5400 and 4S xeon 7300/7400).  While intel provides FlexMigration at the hardware level, you will need virtualization software to support that feature from a validation perspective.  This is a question you will have to ask of VMware. 


          To the best of my knowledge there are no technologies that allow you to mix AMD and Xeon architectures in the same VMware VMmotion cluster/pool.



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          • 2. Re: What will Nehalem mean for VMware Clusters?

            Thanks, Chris;  Your insight helps put the upcoming announcement in the right technology context.  I will carry the thread along to my VMware friends and put the question to them about mixing generations of XEON processors in a cluster.  I am looking forward to the changes that will come about from the introduction of Nehalem throughout the different families.  Bill

            • 3. Re: What will Nehalem mean for VMware Clusters?

              Bill S,


              To add to Chris's comments, there's quite a bit of information in the Server Room on FlexMigration, how it works and what its good for. Just go to the Community Search and type "FlexMigration".


                   Jim Blakley

              • 4. Re: What will Nehalem mean for VMware Clusters?

                One more note, flex migration allows for "live migration" of running applications from one machine to another.  With the performance and power advantages of Nehalem, customers are looking to move virtual servers off their AMD hardware.  Live migration is not possible, but migration of the VM is much simpler than migrating a traditional physical machine.   With nominal down time a system administrator can shut down the vm, move the vm to the new platform and restart the vm.  Downtime could be under 1 minute, and allow the application to take advantage of the performance of the new Nehalem architecture.


                The combination of flex migration, Nehalem, and the Xeon 7400 (4 socket) family of servers, it really makes sense to standardize on Intel based virtual pools going forward.