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Jim O'Reilly

Open-Source KVM Closing on VMware

Jim O'Reilly
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dstrait
dstrait
7/12/2013 2:05:44 PM
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Re: ARM the big unknown
My main thing about microservers is how many VMs can I fit into a rack? Even if ARM chips are physically smaller than xeon chips, all of the other stuff (RAM, support chips, power supplies, hard drives, SSDs, etc.) is going to take up about the same amount of room in an ARM-based server as it does in a xeon-based server.

Maybe I can buy five microservers for the cost of one xeon-based server, but if those five microservers take up five times the physical space as the xeon server and/or if the xeon server can run five times as many VMs, that's up to a 25x density advantage. DCs always seem to be out of space, and VMs per U (of vertical rack) could be a real decider. We definitely need some performance numbers.

The other thing is, ARM based microservers aren't going to do the Microsoft-only shops much good. None of Microsoft's heavy-hitting apps are built for ARM, and it's not a trivial undertaking or they would have more stuff running on Surface RT than they do. ARM could be a real shot in the arm for the open-source folks.

I can only see the decline of the legendary Wintel alliance (or was it an empire?) continuing in the foreseeable future. Intel is being forced to target new markets running non-Microsoft operating systems. Microsoft felt pressured enough to tip-toe into ARM. I've run Windows on Itaniums and I've run Windows on Alphas. Windows RT  seems a half-measure, compared to either of those platforms.

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dstrait
dstrait
7/12/2013 1:50:21 PM
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Re: ARM the big unknown
I saw the thing about XEN supporting ARM64 too. Do we have an idea as to when ARM64 chips will be shipping in volume? 

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Jim O'Reilly
Jim O'Reilly
7/10/2013 6:37:06 PM
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Re: ARM the big unknown
At some point it will be an economics and performance debate about VDI versus the PC. I suspect VDI will win handily on economics, so the issue will end up being performance, which to me means network performance.

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Jim O'Reilly
Jim O'Reilly
7/10/2013 6:32:53 PM
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Re: ARM the big unknown
And now the XEN crowd have a port to the ARM64 on the point of release. No performance yet, but this will definitely heaqt things up in servers.

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Jim O'Reilly
Jim O'Reilly
7/10/2013 6:29:31 PM
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Re: ARM the big unknown
I see the UK Cloud as being open as to CSPs, as long as they are approved. They'll end up proving themselves on price and performance, which tends to favor the big battalions. I suspect ther'll be just a few bigger providers in a few years time.


As an example, I went looking for Microsoft Office365 in their CloudStore and noted it was nearly 2x the price of Google Apps. That can define winners and losers pretty fast!

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Michael.Steinhart
Michael.Steinhart
7/10/2013 6:17:45 PM
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Re: ARM the big unknown
Maybe I can't run a big RDBMS via virtualization on ARM and maybe Xeons are better for a giant fleet of hadoop boxes, but I bet I could run a small fleet of apache web servers, file servers, NAS, maybe some SDN stuff on ARM. 


Thanks for this feedback, dstrait. I think the price is going to be deciding factor, because what happens when you can get five microservers for the cost of one Xeon-based server? 



And cost aside, the picture you paint of RDBMS or Hadoop running on Intel infrastructure and web servers running on ARM is compelling. It's hybrid. It's tailoring resources to workloads. It's even automatable, probably. Does that make sense for future datacenters? It seems to follow the tiered SSD/HDD arrays we're starting to see.

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Michael.Steinhart
Michael.Steinhart
7/10/2013 6:12:30 PM
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Re: ARM the big unknown
I know I'm just resisting the tide, but I still feel as though PCs are central to business computing. Either way, if we pursue the "interesting" scenario you envision, how will the landscape change?

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Michael.Steinhart
Michael.Steinhart
7/10/2013 6:10:30 PM
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Re: ARM the big unknown
My impression of the UK's G-Cloud is that it's made up of numerous smaller cloud services, vetted by the government and approved for agency workloads. The point was to encourage use of local IT firms instead of outsourcing to large vendors. Is that not the case?

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DavidAllen
DavidAllen
7/10/2013 2:30:07 PM
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Re: ARM the big unknown
I for one love the ARM story, from eighties right through to today this is one company that has always been at the forefront of personal computing and to honest I hope that never changes. The trouble is for any company is staying ahead of the game, once you are behind then all of that history will mean nothing at all, except memories for people like me!

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Chris B
Chris B
7/10/2013 3:36:58 AM
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Re: ARM the big unknown
@Michael in much the same way that the consumer market has moved beyond PCs and are well into the "post PC era", I kind of feel like the corporate market may be heading into the "post server era" or at least the "post 1u server era"

Jim sort of brought it up in this article but if ARM is able to produce actual microservers cheaper than a VMWare license would cost then the game starts to get interesting.

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