Richard Brunner

VMware vSphere Support of Hyperscale and Embedded Servers, Part II

May 3, 2012

VMware joins the Open Compute Project

Yesterday, I promised to discuss even more choices for the hyperscale data center with vSphere. Let me start with the big news first.

Today we are announcing that VMware joined the Open Compute Project. The big goal of the project is: “to build one of the most efficient computing infrastructures at the lowest possible cost”. “By releasing Open Compute Project technologies as open hardware, our goal is to develop servers and data centers following the model traditionally associated with open source software projects.”[1]

VMware is serious about delivering innovative technology that transforms and redefines how businesses function and operate in the cloud era. By participating and supporting the Open Compute Project, our customers can benefit from the innovations fostered by the project that redefine the datacenter and the server platform itself. It has flipped the traditional datacenter design paradigm from bottom-up to truly top-down: the design of the data center drives the design of the rack, which drives the design of the server.

Since Open Compute is a logical complement to our goal of expanding VMware vSphere support, I am also announcing today that we have certified vSphere 5.0 Update 1 for both AMD- and Intel-based Open Compute v2.0 servers [2]:

  • Quanta Computer F03 (“Windmill”)[3]

    Motherboard contains Two Intel Xeon E5-2600 Series Processors and can support up to 512 GiB of DDR3 DRAM (with 32 GiB DIMMs).

  • Quanta Computer F05 (“Watermark”)[4]

    Motherboard contains Two AMD Opteron 6200 Series Processors and can support up to 512 GiB of DDR3 DRAM (with 32 GiB DIMMs).

(I would like to acknowledge the assistance from Facebook, Quanta Computer, Intel, AMD, DS, SW, LR, and JB in certifying these servers on VMware’s Hardware Compatibility Guide.)

The server motherboard v2.0 designs themselves are elegant in their simplicity yet two of them pack four beefy server-class processors with a good amount of DRAM into a ~1.5U chassis. With this kind of capability, the Open Compute Project platform is suitable for many virtualization use cases in the enterprise. For example, we have been working with Facebook to deploy VMware vSphere 5.0 on these platforms inside Facebook’s internal IT infrastructure. As the platforms become more broadly available in the next few months, I expect to hear from other customers about how they have deployed them.

Philosophically, we were able to quickly embrace and certify Open Compute servers because of the expanded process which I briefly mentioned yesterday. This process expands vSphere 5 to cover a wide range of embedded processors, I/O devices and servers. The Open Compute server is just one more example of a greater choice in IT solutions available to VMware customers.

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Richard Brunner

Richard Brunner

Platform Architecture

Richard A. Brunner is a Principal Engineer and the Chief Platform Architect in the CTO office at VMware. He is responsible for defining and driving future platform features that can benefit virtualization ... More

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