Virtualization is your choice on the IBM PureFlex System

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In my previous blog post called “Does your virtualization platform matter?” I introduced some of the major criteria that should matter for a sound virtualization technology choice. However, the goal of the companion blog survey was not to enter in any technical comparisons nor benchmark proof points at this time.

Nevertheless such information is still key to better select virtualization options when you expect very scalable and high consolidation ratios of virtual machines (VMs) for private cloud implementations.

Up to now very limited “apple to apple” studies were available to compare such virtualization design points, until the IBM PureFlex System appears on the market bringing an integrated heterogeneous design (Power & x86 technologies) in the same chassis surrounded by common components designed for networking and storage layers.

So using as much as possible common components beyond the servers and also best practices for all technologies, we did fund Edison Group to run virtualization performance benchmarks that stress both technology stacks and to publish results in a “Virtualization Performance on the IBM Pureflex System” white paper.

The paper discusses transaction processing over XML (TPoX) benchmark results using IBM PureFlex System compute hardware based on both x86 and Power architectures. The TPoX benchmark has been chosen due to its availability for both platforms: Power, x86 and also its capability to run a complex and virtualized benchmark workload that would stress CPU, memory and storage I/O plus the virtualization infrastructure.

The Edison Group paper conclusion shows that the IBM PureFlex system can deliver VM consolidation in a heterogeneous, self-contained environment capable of impressive levels of throughput performance. It can dramatically reduce time to production for virtualized data center application operations, providing multiple compute and operating system platforms, advanced storage, and integrated networking in a single manageable system.

The benchmark results presented in this paper show that the IBM POWER7 processor-based IT Element (ITE) platform using PowerVM virtualization, in particular, demonstrated significantly superior throughput performance at all levels of VM population over the x86 Sandy Bridge ITE platform using vSphere 5. IBM PowerVM technology — the virtualization software built into the POWER7 processor-based systems — offers an unprecedented level of platform support, scalability, efficient resource utilization, flexibility, and heterogeneous server management. IBM PowerVM virtualization offers autonomic resource affinity, resulting in higher workload performance in a virtualized environment.

The IBM PureFlex system delivers efficient virtualization of IBM POWER7 Systems and PowerVM technology, along with integrated IBM Storwize V7000 controllers that can accommodate solid-state drives (SSDs) for maximum per-core VM density, making the IBM PureFlex system an excellent foundation for cloud computing environments.

However, your final selection may need to integrate more parameters, as highlighted in our IBM “Fit for Purpose” (F4P) methodology and discussions we often engage with Client Architects to position the full picture in large or complex projects, up to the ‘total cost of ownership’ where the previous VM density plays a major role. Your IBM Systems Architect might be your initial contact point to enter such F4P discussion, if required.

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