SearchSystemsChannel.com's Pat Ouellette: Microsoft Hyper-V R2 has the ability to support up to 64 physical processors. What does this mean for solutions providers and their customers?
Greg Shields: Today, right now, this very minute, not much. The reason for that is because most Windows servers that people are buying today are not at the 64-way processor level, but there are obvious exclusions to this. More often than not, most Microsoft Hyper-V R2 servers are going to become RAM-bound before they become processor-bound -- you're going to run out of RAM before you run out of available processors. Most servers are that way with most workloads. So, people are not necessarily making the jump to 64-way just yet. A lot of people are still going 8-way or 16-way. In the future, as the scale of servers goes up and as the cost goes down for having that much complexity, I think we'll start to see more support for 64-way processors.
Another important point, especially for solutions providers, is that as you scale up, you also have to be conscious of the impact of outages. So, if you're a solutions provider that is purchasing equipment for your clients, and you have the option of purchasing four 64-way or 16 16-way, you can see that the distribution of workloads across more computers is going to have less of an impact if you experience a failure than having fewer, bigger computers. If I lose one 64-way computer, I'm going to lose more VMs at the same time. When you're thinking about architecting these environments for your clients, look at scaling out as much as scaling up.
About the expert
Greg Shields is an independent author, instructor, Microsoft MVP and IT consultant based in Denver. He is a co-founder of Concentrated Technology and has nearly 15 years of experience in IT architecture and enterprise administration. Shields specializes in Microsoft administration, systems management and monitoring, and virtualization. He is the author of several books, including Windows Server 2008: What's New/What's Changed, available from Sapien Press.
This was first published in April 2010