ScaleMP Takes vSMP Up a Notch

By Amy Newman (Send Email)
Posted Nov 10, 2010


More on server virtualization

There was a time when grid computing was one thing, clustering was another and utility computing a third. Back in those days, virtualization was something else entirely. Now, however, virtual machines don't just parse, they aggregate, and virtualization can be used in the same context as the other three.

Virtualization isn't just about slicing and dicing. Sometimes it's about bringing systems together, as ScaleMP demonstrates with its latest release of vSMP Foundation.

Few companies do this as efficiently as ScaleMP, which Tuesday announced a new version of its server virtualization product, vSMP Foundation. vSMP is virtualization software for aggregating multiple, off-the-shelf x86 servers into a single virtual machine. Version 3.5 offers expanded hardware support, increased integration for on-demand symmetrical multiprocessing (SMP) and improved performance.

It is positioned as an alternative to traditional and spendy SMP systems that offers simplified clustering infrastructure with a single operating system. It does so by aggregating up to 128 servers into a single virtual SMP system, and delivering to 64 TB of shared memory and up to 1,024 processors (8,192 cores) virtual SMP.

Shai Fultheim, founder and CEO of ScaleMP, outlined to ServerWatch the three main enhancements, all centered around performance, in the new version: enhanced, on-demand HPC options, performance for 4-socket systems and faster cluster performance.

With version 3.5, implementing HPC with ScaleMP is a mere three mouse click away. Fultheim is quick to point, however, that although creating an SNMP cluster is that easy, it does not take business and process needs into account.

While version vSMP Foundation 3.0 added support for two-socket performance, version 3.5 takes it up a notch with support for four-socket systems. Four-socket systems, Fultheim explained to ServerWatch, bring not just more cores, but also lower speeds, and thus the software must be tuned to accommodate. When tuned properly, it can deliver up to five-times better performance, compared to 3.0 dual-socket systems (which Fultheim said provides up to two-times better performance for dual-socket customers).

vSMP currently supports four-socket systems from all of the Tier-1 OEMS and has already been optimized specifically for the Dell R910, HP DL580 G7 and IBM x3850 X5.

Finally, cluster performance has been sped up. This has been achieved by the MPI offload engine (MOE) enabling customers to run distributed apps with accelerated performance. Unlike previous versions of vSMP Foundation, which offered comparable performance to clusters, vSMP Foundation 3.5 provides MPI offloading for certain operations, thereby increasing an application's overall CPU utilization. Fultheim cited messages being sent in the background as one example. In addition, with this release vSMP Foundation now integrates with Bright Cluster Manager from Bright Computing.

vSMP Foundation 3.5 will be available by December 1, 2010. Its release is timed to coincide with the end of the supercomputing show, where, no doubt, similar applications of virtualization will be on display.

Amy Newman is the senior managing editor of Internet.com's server vertical. She has been covering virtualization since 2001, and is the coauthor of Practical Virtualization Solutions, published by Pearson in 2009.

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