HP has announced that the third generation of its “big iron” machines is available - http://news.com.com/Welcome+to+HPs+third+Superdome/2100-1006-6045653.html. Each superdome has anywhere from 8 to 64 Itanium 2 CPUs. With upcoming dual core Itanium chips, it will go up to 128 high-performance cores per server. How can someone efficiently utilize such power? Hardware partitions are a good option, but they are not very flexible. Resources cannot be dynamically re-allocated between partitions, and, more importantly, there is the manageability overhead of maintaining an instance of the operating system in each partition.
I think the natural choice for Superdome customers is to use Virtuozzo for Linux for IA-64 architecture. It’s the only virtualization software available for Itanium, and has the same sophisticated real-time resource management as its x86 sibling and provides the same manageability advantage of patching all environments at once. Actually, Virtuozzo is already being distributed with Itanium machines. We’ve just announced an agreement with another major vendor of Itanium-based servers - http://www.wcm.bull.com/internet/pr/rend.jsp?DocId=114977&lang=en.
Stay tuned, coming soon I’ll explain the manageability advantages of Virtuozzo operating system virtualization over hardware and hypervisor-based virtualization.