IBM, Intel develop virtualization performance benchmark

vConsolidate benchmark offered to Standard Performance Evaluation working group

There are already industry benchmarks for CPUs, mail servers and a wide range of other IT technologies -- and by this time next year, virtualisation users may have an industry-sanctioned benchmark.

Last month, Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC) created a working group to begin development of a virtualisation standard. Now, IBM and Intel have offered a virtualisation benchmark to the standards group for its consideration.

What IBM and Intel are offering is called vConsolidate, which measures processor and memory throughput efficiency on two or more servers.

Director of server technology marketing at Intel, Lorie Wigle, said IT planning departments would be able to use the benchmark to simulate the workloads they were planning to consolidate and determine the best hardware platform for them.

The joint Intel and IBM benchmark should be ready for users sometime in the first half of next year, she said.

SPEC, a nonprofit company that has developed a wide range of IT benchmarks, set up a working group on virtualisation that includes representation from the major vendors, including IBM, Intel, AMD, Dell, Sun and HP. Virtualisation software vendors are also expected to participate and IT managers have been invited to contribute ideas to a standards process, according to SPEC.

A benchmark had to be consistent across all operating platforms and had to be fair for everybody involved, SPEC spokesperson, Bob Cramblitt, said.

Parts of what the vendors contributed to the standards effort might be included in a final standard, he said.

"Nobody is going to let one vendor get away with something that might favour their particular configuration," Cramblitt said.

Manager of System x product marketing at IBM, Jay Bretzmann, said the benchmark was now being used by other vendors.

He said a tool for measuring performance across larger servers was needed because customers were putting more important and strategic workloads in virtualisation environments.

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