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Picking the right CPU for virtualization

Picking the right CPU for virtualization can depend on the situation. These tips can help guide you to making the right choice.

Making the switch to virtualization is becoming more and more popular, but there are important decisions to make. Choosing a CPU for virtualization is just as important as choosing memory and storage and can make a big difference when it comes to the performance of your virtual machines.

Here are some tips and features that can help you decide on the best CPU for you.

The CPU features you need to know about

There are so many acronyms that it's hard to keep track of what they mean. When picking the right hypervisor, there are many different aspects that factor into performance. CPU features are among those aspects that are critical to hypervisor performance. Choosing the right hardware can be key to making your virtualized workloads run at peak performance.

For the best performance, disable hyperthreading

Performance improvements are something admins and users are always looking for. Hyperthreading organizes and schedules application threads, but is it always the most efficient way of improving processor performance? This tip explains what hyperthreading is and exactly how it works, so you can decide if it's the best choice for you.

SLAT can help minimize virtualization overhead

One common issue with virtualization is the amount of overhead it requires. The software layer brings overhead that can reduce the resources that are available to the VM. Second Level Address Translation, or SLAT, helps reduce that overhead and in turn, helps to improve virtualization performance.

Keep hardware specs in mind

When you are selecting a server for virtualization, it's important to consider CPU, memory and network I/O. All three of these elements are key to consolidation. As this tip points out, the more memory, the better, as more memory allows more consolidation.

Choosing a CPU for your environment

Two big factors to consider for your environment are CPU and memory choices. When making that decision, processor speed and the number of cores should get a good amount of attention. Do you need to turn a single physical CPU into multiple CPUs? Then a multicore CPU would be a good choice for you.

This was last published in December 2014

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