Intel’s Latest Generation Microarchitecture, Codenamed “Nehalem” to Power GoGrid Cloud

October 23rd, 2009 by - 6,251 views

GoGrid is “suping up” its CPU architecture. Within the next few months, we will be rolling out new infrastructure using next-generation Intel microarchitecture, specifically the Nehalem 5500 line. Recently, we have been running a series of internal tests as we evaluate Intel’s new multi-core performance as enabled within these CPU chipsets.

Nehalem & GoGrid

I spent some time with Telemachus Luu, GoGrid’s Director of Business Strategy, and a senior-level GoGrid cloud architect in order to better understand what this means to GoGrid and its customers. I won’t bore you with overly technical details, if you do have any technical questions about the Nehalem processor or how GoGrid will be using it, please feel free to leave a comment on this post.

There are three main items that were outlined to me, specifically:

  1. Increased Memory Bandwidth – For GoGrid users who have larger Virtual Machines that are processing a great deal of data (e.g., financial analysis or large database queries), those users will see a definite benefit with better memory handling.
  2. HyperThreading – By utilizing HyperThreading, GoGrid is able to provide a better ratio of CPU processing elements (in the form of cores or threads) to our customers. This means that under heavy VM CPU loads, the scheduling latency improves.
  3. Extended Paging Tables (EPT) – By using Extended Paging Tables and architecting appropriately, some of the critical memory management work that would have been done in the software layer can now be largely performed within the hardware itself.

However, in my discussions, I also picked up some other interesting tech tidbits that make a lot of sense. For example, there is a definite advantage of using the HT/Virtual Cores of the Nehalem processor versus just throwing in other older chipsets. You can, for example, get 30% “more” out of a virtualized core that uses only 5% more silicon than you can by simply adding more physical CPUs. Also, you can pack more cores (physical and virtual) within a server using the Nehalem than you could with the previous generation Intel chipsets.

Want More Info about the Nehalem?

Intel has provided a very nice Flash demonstration of the new benefits of the Nehalem chipset. (Click on the picture below to launch the demo.)

nehalem_popup

Regardless, moving GoGrid to the Nehalem Microarchitecture makes good business and technology sense from our perspective, and GoGrid users will see a performance bump for those VMs deployed on Nehalem GoGrid nodes.

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Michael Sheehan

Michael Sheehan, formerly the Technology Evangelist for GoGrid, is a recognized technology, social media, and cloud computing pundit and blogger who writes regularly about technology news and trends.

One Response to “Intel’s Latest Generation Microarchitecture, Codenamed “Nehalem” to Power GoGrid Cloud”

  1. Justin Van Buren says:

    Michael – Point #1 (around why VMs with bigger data loads) perform better on the latest Intel Xeon processors is explained in this animation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXaDDKmx88w&fe

    Its awesome that your customers are getting these sorts of benefits by utilizing the GoGrid Cloud.

    thanks – Justin
    Intel Marketing

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