Multicore and virtualization simplifies server infrastructure

Even a small company like mine have a need for many servers. Web servers, file servers, domain controllers, source code repositories… and then there are test and research servers with various operating systems. And most of these must be monitored and backed up regularly. A lot of boxes consuming both space and power.

We are now moving into an era where multicore computers can fit the budget of small companies. Dual core have been around for some time and now we’re seeing
quad-core. Both in servers and workstation machines. To alleviate our “space, power and maintenance” problem, lets put multicore technology to good use.

So recently we acquired a server with two quad-core processors. Easily
the most powerful computer I ever was able to carry around the office
without a forklift. Using virtualization we can now consolidate all our servers into a farm of virtual machines running on this single server. Some instant benefits:

  • The ability to add, remove and restore servers at will without having to acquire new hardware or reinstall existing machines comes as an added bonus.
  • One, fast, redundant disk system is there for all machines to use and backup becomes a breeze.
  • Shared power and network redundancy using one of the many server housing services out there. Renting 2U rack space is cheap these days…

For those of you that love numbers, here’s some machine specs:

  • Machine: DELL PE2950
  • Processors: twin quad-core Xeon E5335 2.0GHz/2x4MB 1333FSB
  • Disk: five 73GB 2.5in hard drives configured as RAID5. These are SAS (Serial Attached SCSI ) disks spinning at 15000 rpm.
  • Network: dual Gigabit network cards
  • Power: dual power supplies
  • Memory: 4 GB 667MHz FBD

…and even some pictures. You can see my Qtek 8500 smartphone on the top for some degree of size comparison Smile