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How to choose the best hardware for virtualization

Introduction

There are several factors to consider when choosing virtualization hardware. Will you be an early adopter of emerging technology? Do you need the most up-to-date servers to meet your workload requirements? Are there certain features and functionalities that will ease resource management in your environment?

These are only a few of the questions you should ask yourself when reviewing hardware virtualization. There's a fine line between not having enough resources and spending too much on something you don't necessarily need.

After purchasing a hardware platform, you need to determine the best way to optimize it; otherwise, valuable processor, memory, networking and storage resources will go to waste. With so many options available to you when it comes to hardware specifications and features, it can be hard to know where to start. Luckily, this updated guide to choosing the best hardware for virtualization can help. 

1CPU and RAM-

Processor and memory requirements

When choosing hardware for virtualization, first consider what you'll need in terms of computing and memory resources. One of the most important questions to ask is what type of workloads you plan on running in your virtual infrastructure. The answer will determine the amount of CPU and RAM you will need.

There have been several advancements in processor technology over the past few years, so thoroughly evaluate your options before implementing a specific hardware platform. Memory has evolved as well, offering more speed and performance than ever before. Employ different management techniques to make the most of these resources.

Tip

How many cores per CPU should you have in your virtual servers?

You can't simply look at CPUs, as there are other key elements of server design. Take these factors into consideration to see if high core count CPUs could work for your virtual servers. Continue Reading

Tip

Virtual GPUs enable complex graphics without performance degradation

The demand for hardware virtualization that can support high resource consumption increases with compute-intensive apps. Understand the different use cases of a GPU-assisted environment. Continue Reading

Tip

Employ high-performance GPUs to handle changing server workloads

The push to virtualization and increased reliance on multimedia and visualization tools has prompted businesses to reconsider the need for server-based graphics hardware. Continue Reading

Feature

New trends in RISC technology, ARM processors for server virtualization

The latest RISC processors support virtualization and change the way computing resources scale to meet workload demands. Continue Reading

Answer

Right-size memory for workloads and use these management techniques

Allocating too little memory to VMs can cause performance issues. It's better to overcommit memory -- but do so carefully, and take advantage of different techniques to optimize memory. Continue Reading

Tip

Increasing popularity of NVDIMM technology turns heads

NVDIMMs can provide increased speed and performance. Learn the advantages of using this technology in your virtual servers, the different types of NVDIMMs and the technology's future outlook. Continue Reading

Feature

Expert tips on buying next-gen hardware for virtualization

We asked our Advisory Board members how virtualization is continuing to change the relationship IT professionals have with hardware. Continue Reading

2Networking-

Network hardware options

In terms of making the most of your networking resources, selecting the best server hardware for virtualization is only the first step in the process. Of course, using different technologies can help you in those efforts depending on your performance needs, but certain features and techniques can also ease network management. Learn more about emerging technologies, like SNMP, iSCSI and NFS, as well as specific networking best practices with these tips.

Tip

Use SNMP technology to monitor your virtualization environment

Simple Network Management Protocol, the protocol that governs network management and monitors network devices, makes managing a large or complex environment easier. Continue Reading

Feature

Author Q&A and book excerpt: Network function virtualization

Learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of NFV, how NFV affects VM performance and how NFV software has and will continue to evolve to meet data center needs. Continue Reading

Tip

How to improve network performance via advanced NIC options

Ethernet networks often struggle with modern data center workloads, but emerging network interface card (NIC) technologies are here to help improve network performance. Continue Reading

Answer

Understand Hyper-V NIC teaming and its limitations

Hyper-V NIC teaming enables admins to achieve greater network bandwidth and fault tolerance, and it can be managed with PowerShell, but this technology does have its limitations. Continue Reading

Tip

The iSCSI versus NFS debate: Easing configuration in vSphere

For performance rivaling Fibre Channel, you can bet on iSCSI or Network File System. But one protocol has the edge when it comes to ease of configuration in vSphere. Continue Reading

3Storage -

Storage hardware trends

Perhaps one of the most difficult decisions admins have to make when purchasing virtualization server hardware is how they want to approach storage in their environments. Aside from increasingly popular technologies, like storage I/O control (SIOC) and hypervisor-aware storage, you have hyper-converged infrastructure systems to consider. Thoroughly evaluate the storage features different vendors offer and your overall server design before choosing a server for virtualization.

Answer

Prevent storage problems with SIOC and other features

First, place fewer VMs on the same LUN, use queue depth throttling and limit disk requests. Then, take advantage of storage I/O control features and monitor storage I/O latency. Continue Reading

Tip

Use Windows Server 2016's Storage Replica to achieve scalability

Although Hyper-V replication might adequately meet your storage needs, consider switching to Storage Replica if you're looking for a feature that offers more flexibility. Continue Reading

Tip

Hypervisor-aware storage serves up per-VM stats

Virtualization admins will have less of an opportunity to blame storage for unidentifiable problems thanks to the advent of hypervisor-aware storage. Continue Reading

Tip

Evaluate VMware VVOL technology implementation

Manage storage in large VMware vSphere environments with Virtual Volumes. Storage allocation and management can be done on a per-VM basis with this feature. Continue Reading

Tip

Compare the pros and cons of hyper-converged to rack servers

The rapid evolution of server design is worth considering. With HCI, pooling and tiering of storage in the cluster makes deployment easier, but performance might be a concern. Continue Reading

4Key terms-

Terms associated with hardware virtualization

An essential part of choosing the best hardware for virtualization is knowing the related terminology. Read on to familiarize yourself with the key terms.

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