A Server Perfect for Every Single Job ?

June 3, 2013 | By Michael Schulman

My introduction to technical computing was in the 1980’s, where I was asked to join the “Computer Planning and Goals” committee of a large-unnamed University, and was subjected to endless meetings in which faculty and staff discussed, endlessly and many times emotionally, their unique needs for large systems.

No one was ever satisfied with the outcome, which always seemed to be a re-enactment of the ‘Judgment of Solomon’. More CPU’s, faster CPU’s, more memory, shared memory, different OS’s, more storage, faster storage, etc…I did the math one year and figured out that the University spent more on the meetings discussing the next computing purchase than they spent on the actual computers!

Essentially, nothing changed for the next 30 years, just the speeds and feeds.

Meanwhile most of industries, through the use of high powered technology, has been able to adopt a concept of “mass customization”, which is ability to personalize a product or service, at a commodity price. One can look at every aspect of our lives and see mass customization, from cars to smartphones to clothes, even the Insurance is customized to a person’s needs. Nearly everything we need can be personalized and delivered to us in record speed.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could match the components of server to be EXACTLY what my workload needed, every time? On the fly?

Through virtualization, it is now actually possible.

Some of us old dogs know that virtualization is much more than VMWare. I actually learned IBM’s CMS in college on an old water cooled S/360. Funny how many things come around again if you stay long enough.
With vSMP Foundation from ScaleMP the ability to do full system virtualization across multiple servers, it’s now possible to spawn a VM that is exactly, perfectly customized to the needs of your workload.

Not only can we do this, it can be fully automated with a scheduler and done “on demand”, which means we can do it on the fly.

Market forces are eliminating proprietary architectures very rapidly. We can all go down the list of companies who have gone dark, been acquired or who are on life-support.

The remaining companies are rapidly abandoning their proprietary platforms as their clients are no longer willing to pay premium pricing; they are willing to settle for significantly cheaper, commodity systems with less features.

But the workloads haven’t changed!

Finally, a solution to this has been developed. The convergence of ever faster CPU’s and ever faster networking has enabled the development of a technology that initially virtualized CPUs and is now able to fully virtualize all components of commodity systems, and deliver the results quickly. This is of course vSMP Foundation from ScaleMP. Why else would I be writing this blog post?

The paradox that has resulted from the rapid shift to cheap, commodity systems has enabled the creation of a solution that allows for mass customization which can virtualize these commodity systems and reassemble the component on the fly, creating a new “virtual” machines which matches the exact needs to the workload. As seen in a number of other industries, the development of vSMP Foundation was a predictable outcome!

Like any paradigm shift, there will be skepticism (and as any Trekkie knows that initially virtualization has some limitations, but we would still take a Holodeck) but I can tell you it’s here and we no longer have to worry about how to divide the baby, in fact, we can each have one just the way we like it. I’ll have the one that doesn’t cry or poop.