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October 2008, Vol. 5

Server virtualization hardware shopping guide

At first blush, selecting a commodity server for a virtual data center may seem simple. Hardware providers now urge you to purchase their “virtualization ready” products. While for some workloads these purchases are a good choice, they may not be appropriate for the task at hand. Just as in a non virtualized environment, the application and service workloads you intend to host on servers will dictate the features you select in your server. So too, a virtual environment creates additional requirements in terms of handling applications and workloads. The demands on server hardware are amplified by consolidating multiple operating systems and their respective applications onto a physical machine. A memory-intensive application that has been virtualized along with similar applications on a physical server, for example, will often demand more than simply the sum of each virtual machine’s memory requirements. This article explores the requirements that virtualization creates for server hardware in the four key server resource areas: ...

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