And naturally, all of this pushes us further and further into virtualization as not just mainstream, but the only stream. For one thing, it's the only way nonthreaded applications can expect to exist in an increasingly multithreaded world, with few exceptions. It's only a matter of time before nonvirtualized servers are rarities, and embedded hypervisors rule the day. In fact, major hardware vendors are already developing and releasing virtualization-centric servers and blades that dispense with traditional form-factors and usage models. Imagine a world where the majority of the servers you have to choose from are specifically designed to run dozens of virtual servers, boasting dozens of cores, hundreds of gigabytes of RAM, and nearly no internal storage. That reality is knocking on the door. It's not mainstream yet, but it will be -- guaranteed.
Over the past few years, the CPU core war has seemed like a battle between Schick and Gillette over the number of blades each razor holds. Way back when, a single blade seemed like enough. Now it seems quaint. In IT, it's basically the same thing. There are still millions of single-core servers out there sucking up vast amounts of power, driving apps that would barely be noticeable if they were running on VMs on a modern server. Time, wear, and budgets will ultimately address that issue, but these days having a few dozen physical or logical CPUs in a single server that consumes less power than its predecessor is where we should be. Indeed, with today's launch of Westmere-EP and the pending launch of AMD's 12-core Magny-Cours, it's where we are.
So brace yourself. If you're running a small business shop, be prepared to see your entire infrastructure collapsed into two or three 1U servers. If you're running a large shop, you'll soon stop seeing physical servers as entities unto themselves but as nearly invisible cogs in a massive virtualization machine. Some of you have already turned this corner.
I've been beating the virtualization drum for quite some time. The beat gets louder and far more intricate every day. It's not just a potential path for general IT, it's quickly becoming the only path. Otherwise, we're just wasting cycles.
This story, "Modern multicore and the next generation of IT," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Paul Venezia's The Deep End blog and follow the latest developments in servers, processors, and other hardware at InfoWorld.com.