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


The next installment of the XNA Game Studio is close at hand!

Announced just yesterday, XNA Game Studio 2.0 is soon to be released. This will be a lot of fun, especially the network support. Like others, I’m curious about wether it will cost extra to use those network api’s. I would hope not, since we’re already paying for the XNA Creators Club membership.

What is also interesting is that the G studio will no longer be tied to the Express edition of Visual Studio. And since urban legend says that Visual Studio 2008 will be released this November, Game Studio 2.0 will hopefully be compatible with 2008.



Mac vs PC laptops

Cool, Anders made the switch

Last time I needed to buy a new laptop I really considered buying a MacBook Pro. It have such good looks and of course, the ability to run Windows natively makes the MacBook an option for Microsoft heads.

But when compared to an almost equal HP setup the ~9.000NOK price difference was a bit hard to justify.

I asked the Apple salesman what I got for those extra bucks. He answered “Design and reduced Total Cost of Ownership”…again, I found it hard to justify the price. Note, this was back in June so prices may have changed, of course…

Anyway, good luck with your new Mac, Anders 🙂 Anyone else made the switch?