The age of multi-core is upon us, and the game of who has the highest clock speed has turned into who has the most cores (at least for now). Intel released Clovertown in Q4 of 2006, a bit ahead of its originally scheduled 2007 launch date. Obviously, the reason for the early launch was at least partially to ensure they were the first to market with quad core, ahead of rival AMD.

Clovertown is targeted at dual socket servers, typically in a 1-2U form factor. It launched with speeds up to 2.66 GHz, with 3.0 GHz on the horizon. Intel has also recently launched low voltage parts, which are rated at 50W and are clocked at 1.86 and 1.60 GHz.

So, what applications could benefit from eight cores? Today, the obvious choice is virtualization, although database servers, exchange servers, and compute clusters would also be good candidates. Virtualization is the primary target for Clovertown; a rack of ESX servers running on 2U Clovertown boxes would consolidate a significant amount of business applications in a relatively small foot-print.

Last year, at an IBM technical conference, one of their senior technical representatives said the following: "In the coming years, the operating systems we use today will be merely applications running in a single operating system". Although you could say that's true today, it's only the beginning of what is going to be a complete shift in the traditional way we approach and think about "servers". Virtualization is growing at an exponential rate, and the shift to multi-core is only going to accelerate that growth.

Although a significant portion of Clovertown systems will be deployed in virtualized environments, there will be some used in the more traditional single purpose server scenarios. However, there's something to keep in mind if you plan to throw eight cores at your database server or any other server that is I/O intensive. You have now increased your processing power by at least two fold relative to a dual core configuration, and ensuring that your I/O subsystem is capable of keeping up with that extra processing power may be difficult. As you will read later in the article, we ran into significant issues with our test suite with eight cores and our I/O subsystem.

Architecture & Roadmap
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  • yyrkoon - Monday, April 2, 2007 - link

    You can not read, and understand what I am writting, and I am the dolt or moron . . .

    Interresting that . . . interresting indeed. I think what I will do, is just ignore whatever else you have to say, just like the majority of other readers seemingly have done.
  • archcommus - Friday, March 30, 2007 - link

    However if Barcelona comes out and then Penryn smashes it just a few months later, yeah, then I'm gonna be worried about them. :(
  • Griswold - Saturday, March 31, 2007 - link

    Say no to drugs.
  • anony - Friday, March 30, 2007 - link

    This is for the authors. Sorry if I missed it, but do the power measurements
    include chipset power? AMD processors include the memory controller as well,
    right? Do the performance/watt take this into account?
  • Ross Whitehead - Friday, March 30, 2007 - link

    We measured power at the wall, but we do not include the power for the disk chassis.

    Thus, performance/watt takes all of your mentioned items into account.
  • blckgrffn - Friday, March 30, 2007 - link

    I am guessing Pernyn will be different enough from Clovertown to make using vmotion (and many other enterprise features) impossible. It sucks enough that we already have two processor families in our Dell 2950's, and here comes one more.

    I am all for progress, it just looks like this might be something VMware has to address at some point.

  • Beenthere - Friday, March 30, 2007 - link

    ...the industry. As usual Intel's "glueblob" is another rushed-out-the-door, knee-jerk reaction to AMD supplying superior CPU products. AMD is really gonna hurt Intel with Barcelona and friends.
  • johnsonx - Friday, March 30, 2007 - link

    Beenthere + Cornfedone = Cramitpal
  • Griswold - Saturday, March 31, 2007 - link

    You forgot to add some "fine-ass".
  • Phynaz - Friday, March 30, 2007 - link

    Wow, you really are a moron.

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