What Is Selective Scaling, and Why Should You Care?

September 15, 2018 | By Benzi Galili

Selective Scaling

Not all computing workloads are born equal. Some require a lot of disk space for input data or analysis output, and some require very little storage space. Some require a lot of memory and some are so small that you can run many of them concurrently on a single server. Some may take mere seconds to complete, while some take weeks to run (and of those, some could be accelerated if you have more computing resources). Fortunately, computers are configurable. You can buy a server with just 1GB of RAM, or a server with 1TB of RAM. You could get a system with just 8 CPUs from your favorite IT supplier, or a system with 128 CPUs. So, you could play the matching game, to an extent. Unfortunately, though, commodity computers have limits that are set in stone: As of this writing, if you’re not willing to pay a premium, the largest you can get is a 2-processor/64-CPU server with 768GB RAM. Anything beyond that would be relatively expensive. Moreover, even if you are willing to pay a premium, some of the attributes of the computer are correlated. For example, if you want larger memory, you must have more processors. What if your application needs more memory, but gets no benefit from additional CPUs? Tough luck! You’ll have to buy those extra CPUs just to get the added memory connected to the system. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could use those commodity systems for any scale? And wouldn’t it be really great if you could detach the scaling vectors, so that having more memory would not dictate spending more on CPUs that are not needed?  You’re in luck — ScaleMP offers exactly that! You may already know that ScaleMP vSMP technology aggregates multiple industry-standard x86 servers into a single high-end virtual shared-memory system. But that’s not all. Depending on workload requirements, you could design your own solution and either have all the resources (CPUs, memory and I/O) aggregated, or just augment the memory of a primary node with memory from other nodes. We call this “selective scaling,” as you can select which attributes of the computer to scale-up, thus adjusting the system exactly to applications’ needs. The different flavors of our vSMP ServerONE product provide customers with an alternative to proprietary, expensive high-end systems, or to premium components such as high-capacity DIMMs. vSMP ServerONE provides two aggregation modes: system expansion and memory expansion.

System Expansion

System expansion is designed for compute-intensive applications. All of the processors, memory and I/O devices of a collection of x86 servers are aggregated into one shared-memory system. vSMP ServerONE provides software-defined computing (SDC) capabilities that enable the creation of scale-up computers and provide applications with a performance boost in a superior alternative to traditional, expensive multiprocessing (SMP or NUMA) systems.

Memory Expansion

Memory expansion is designed for applications that require a large memory footprint and that are not CPU demanding. In other words, vSMP ServerONE provides software-defined memory (SDM) capabilities that enable all-in-memory computing and eliminate the excess expense for redundant processors and application licenses. If you only need to scale memory, but not CPUs, your investment shrinks proportionally. This, in turn, enables customers to use larger system memory for analytics and big-data applications. How far can this scale? Let me answer this with some basic feeds and speeds:

System Expansion Memory Expansion
Up to 32,768 CPUs and 2PB RAM virtual shared-memory system, aggregating compute, I/O and RAM of multiple servers Proven scalability and record-breaking total memory bandwidth Developer tools available for application performance tuning Utilize processing power of single x86 system (up to 8 processor sockets) with up to 2PB RAM aggregated from multiple servers Generic solution for any memory-intensive workload; a perfect solution for in-memory databases Application license savings with fewer active processors compared to alternative Available as free download with community support

And, as if all this is not enough, vSMP ServerONE makes all this goodness available on demand, to be deployed on your existing or new clusters, as application needs arise. I’ll cover all this in another post. 😉