September 18, 2014
Beefy servers link VMware and MPE futures
VMware is installed at the majority of HP 3000 sites. The virtualization software delivers flexibility in using a wider array of operating environments to virtualize Intel-based hardware, and so it's a useful tool for putting Windows, Linux and Apple's OS X on a variety of hosting hardware. Everything looks like Intel x86 -- to be exact, Xeon -- once VMware is on board.
This is one of the reasons VMware is a common companion with the Stromasys CHARON virtualized HP 3000. A partition of a server can be designated as an x86 box. And then on top of this emulation, according to Doug Smith of Stromasys
Some people already have VMware installed for the rest of their applications, and if they choose to use it with CHARON it's fine. There are others that see more of a perfomance issue -- there's more performance if they actually run it on a standalone server.
On VMware you have the host hardware, and a lot of the customers haven't specified the host hardware beefy enough to run the application. You run into a problem with that every once in awhile, so they end up going to a standalone server. That's because they don't want to go through the expense of updating all of their VMware hosts.
Initial testing performed under VMware in these under-spec'ed hosts "won't give you the performance you're looking for," Smith explained. "Under the right hardware, the numbers jump up big-time." A forthcoming case study will lay out the differences for CHARON HPA/3000, he added."Initially they saw a performance decrease, then went to a standalone server and saw a performance increase compared to their production box. Then they emulated that onto VMware and saw another 5-10 percent increase," Smith said.
As far back as the spring of 2013, the company was saying that a DL480 ProLiant Server was a good choice for max horsepower to create a virtualized HP 3000 N-Class. Now there's a DL580 ProLiant that has four Xeon e7-4870 processors (each a 2.4GHz/10-core CPU). That's a $32,000 system from HP's store. A two-processor 2.13GHz model is about $12,000, and HP's got a two-processor ProLiant running 1.86GHz CPUs priced at $8,566 (without disk) from Zones.com.
These clearly are not in the same price range as the HP Envy laptop that Smith said he was carrying on the floor of the VMware show last month. That i7-powered 15t-j100 Quad box is only $800 out the door with tax today. An Envy will do enough work for a portable demonstration platform, though.
Plenty of customers for CHARON say they just can't believe they'll see an MPE colon prompt on a laptop until it boots up. Showing such a thing in a boardroom using an Envy will only be the start of acquiring a real enterprise grade MPE box, though. When you consider how much a used 3000 costs these days, the $8,566 DL580 server might seem costly. Until you experience the flexibility of new disk, faster network access, and more.
And then there's the matter of the host hardware's age, and vendor support. You'll still be engaging HP for the latter -- and the DL580 was assembled, oh, about 10 years more recently than HP's very newest 3000 iron.
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