Feeds

VMware learns to measure itself

Births benchmark for AMD, Intel and the server crowd

High performance access to file storage

Not afraid to help itself while it helps others, VMware today rolled out a public version of its homegrown virtual server benchmarking tool.

VMware has been shopping VMmark in beta form since last year and now feels confident enough to set the test suite free. Server makers and end users are expected to use VMmark as a way of gaging the performance of certain workloads - namely file serving, mail serving, databases, java applications and transaction processing - running inside of virtual machines. With any luck, VMmark will add some customer-friendly metrics to a market woefully lacking in vendor vs. vendor and application comparisons.

Of course, just about every move VMware makes is meant to further its cause as the center of the x86 virtualization universe. So, it's not surprising that we find VMware working with benchmarking experts at the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation to make a very VMmark-like suite an industry-standard.

Rivals Microsoft and SWsoft - along with the likes of Sun, AMD, Intel, HP, Dell and Red Hat - have joined VMware and SPEC to form a subcommittee meant to develop this new benchmark.

XenSource is notably absent from the group and has long argued that it has a major performance lead over VMware due to the lightweight nature of the Xen hypervisor.

With VMmark, however, VMware has tried to shift the discussion away from the raw performance of a hypervisor layer to how well actual applications run on a fully-stacked, physical server.

"Customers will typically measure the overhead of virtualization software running on a particular box," Andrea Eubanks, a senior director at VMware, told us. "From the perspective of understanding how their workloads will run on different hardware, this is a very primitive way to measure performance."

The VMmark test suite includes load generators for the various workloads described earlier and includes SPEC's own SPECjbb and SPECweb code for testing Java and order entry. Half of the benchmarks run on Linux, while the other half run on Windows. Customers will find the Linux-friendly software wrapped up in handy virtual appliances. Microsoft's licensing restrictions blocked a similar deal for the Windows code, so some self-assembly is required.

Servers makers such as Sun and Dell have already started issuing VMmark scores.

Eubanks is looking for the SPEC work around a standard virtualization benchmark to be completed by the second half of 2008.

It's hard to get excited about benchmarks. While helpful, they often end up making matters more confusing for customers, as vendors tweak, prod and poke their boxes to attain the best possible - often unrealistic - scores.

That said, customers have largely been left to fend for themselves in the virtualization game. As the market leader, it's natural for VMware to take charge and gives OEMs a helping hand with the measurement process. The end result should be a bunch of server and chip makers doing their best to craft kit that runs virtual servers really well.

An industry standard benchmark remains the more ideal end goal, but you'll have to live with VMware and VMware alone until at least 2008.

There's more information on VMmark due to post here

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
European Court of Justice rips up Data Retention Directive
Rules 'interfering' measure to be 'invalid'
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Cisco reps flog Whiptail's Invicta arrays against EMC and Pure
Storage reseller report reveals who's selling what
Bored with trading oil and gold? Why not flog some CLOUD servers?
Chicago Mercantile Exchange plans cloud spot exchange
Just what could be inside Dropbox's new 'Home For Life'?
Biz apps, messaging, photos, email, more storage – sorry, did you think there would be cake?
IT bods: How long does it take YOU to train up on new tech?
I'll leave my arrays to do the hard work, if you don't mind
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.