ScaleMP expands server virtualization for aggregation software platform

vSMP Foundation 3.5 provides greater choice of provisioning systems, simplified management, and increased performance for distributed apps

ScaleMP announced a new version of its server virtualization for aggregation platform, vSMP Foundation 3.5. The latest version expands support for four-socket systems and adds additional Linux clustering management.

When you think about server virtualization, you normally do so in terms of partitioning or splicing a single larger physical machine into many smaller virtual machines. That technology is fairly common in today's modern IT shops. We partition servers in this way in order to optimize the workload of a single machine, because most modern x86 servers have more capacity than a single application can consume on a daily basis. But what happens when the opposite is true? What happens when you need to optimize the workload demand of an application that requires more processor cores or more memory than a single physical machine has to offer?

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That's where ScaleMP comes into play. The company said there are three application domains that require a large VM: applications requiring large amounts of memory, applications requiring lots of CPUs in a shared-memory environment (multithreaded applications), and I/O-intensive applications.

To answer that call, ScaleMP's vSMP Foundation uses a form of server virtualization called high-end virtualization or server virtualization for aggregation. In other words, instead of partitioning a single physical machine into many smaller virtual machines, vSMP Foundation takes multiple x86 physical systems and aggregates them into what appears to be a single virtual x86 machine, delivering an industry-standard, high-end symmetric multiprocessor (SMP) computer.

vSMP Foundation 3.5 currently supports aggregation of up to 128 servers into a single virtual SMP system with up to 64TB of shared memory and up to 1,024 processors (or 8,192 cores). Once loaded into the memory of each of the system boards, vSMP Foundation aggregates the compute, memory, and I/O capabilities of each system and presents a unified virtual system to both the operating system and the applications running above the OS.

"Aggregation provides a virtual machine with the combined power of a collection of servers," said Shai Fultheim, founder and CEO of ScaleMP. "For example, aggregating 10 systems will result in a virtual machine with an order of magnitude more memory and CPU power, compared to physical servers.

"Any application requiring such compute capability can benefit from virtualization for aggregation, including technical computing, finance, analytics, and data-warehousing," Fultheim added. "And an additional benefit of aggregating multiple systems is virtual machine operation simplicity. The aggregated virtual machine requires only one OS, one storage pool and one jobs queue to manage. This capability removes quite a bit of the complexity in running multiple physical servers."

With vSMP Foundation 3.5, ScaleMP provides enhancements in three key areas:

  • Data center customers looking for on-demand virtual-machines now have a greater choice of provisioning systems with the integration of Bright Cluster Manager. This addition provides the user with the ability to run a single cluster infrastructure and allocate a software-based SMP when needed to meet specific size and configuration requirements.
  • For customers seeking large-scale SMP, ScaleMP claims version 3.5 offers up to four times better performance than the last version. It also adds support for four-socket systems from the leading Tier-1 vendors such as Dell's R910, HP's DL580 G7, and IBM's x3850 X5.
  • For SMB customers looking to simplify cluster environment by aggregating cluster nodes into a single system, the latest version offers a seamless MPI offload engine (MOE), delivering greater performance for distributed applications.

Looking ahead to the cloud, ScaleMP is watching the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) market.

"IaaS allows customers to shape server resources to their application, and not be locked into their hardware's limitations," said Fultheim. "Quite a bit of IaaS is provided using virtual machines, which segment a physical server into multiple, stand-alone entities -- providing great ROI for service providers and customers."

Fultheim said that with virtualization for aggregation, customers have more choice. "They can ask for a virtual machine with practically unlimited memory size or processors. Server aggregation without boundaries is the next wave of virtualization -- and we start seeing it addressed by service providers," he added.

ScaleMP's vSMP Foundation shared memory clustering software is certified to work with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 and 5 (RHEL 4/5) and Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 and 11 (SLES 10/11). Microsoft Windows Server 2008 is not yet supported.

Pricing for vSMP Foundation 3.5 remains the same as the 3.0 release. A license and support contract will start off at $1,750 for a two-socket server using four-core x64 processors, although existing vSMP Foundation customers with a valid support and maintenance contract will be able to download the update for free.

This article, "ScaleMP expands server virtualization for aggregation software platform," was originally published at Follow the latest developments in virtualization and cloud computing at

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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