ScaleMP Supports AMD Opterons With New Virtual Server Software

For about five years, ScaleMP's virtual SMP technology has supported Intel's Xeon chips. Now the company's product is supporting AMD's Opterons.

ScaleMP for several years has enabled customers to use its virtualization software in their Intel Xeon-based environments. Now the company is vendor support for Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron server processors, a move prompted in large part to customer demand, according to ScaleMP executives.

Starting later this year, high-end computing customers running AMD's Opteron 6100 Series "Magny-Cours" processors-and the upcomingOpteron 6200 "Interlagos" chips-will be able to use ScaleMP's vSMP Foundation software to aggregate up to 128 servers encompassing as many as to 512 Opteron processors and 64 terabytes of memory, creating a massive shared-memory system.

Most of the interest in vSMP Foundation over the past few years has come from organizations running systems powered by Intel's Xeon chips, according to ScaleMP founder and CEO Shai Fultheim. However, with AMD's introduction of its Magny-Cours Opterons last year, and the new Interlagos chip, which is based on the new "Bulldozer" architecture, that is shipping now, interest in AMD in the server world is growing gain, Fultheim said in an interview with eWEEK.

"We are seeing the demand [increase] in the last six to nine months," he said.

Organizations are interested in the increasing price performance advantages AMD is offering with its chips, including Interlagos, which will offer 12 to 16 cores per chip, he said. The Interlagos chips also offer significant improvements in floating points per cycle, integer performance and RAM capabilities per single server, as well as CPU performance and memory per dollar, he said.

With its support for Opterons, announced Sept. 20, ScaleMP can now offer businesses the ability to aggregate 8,192 cores in a single system. The new Opterons offer organizations advantage high performance at a lower cost than Xeons, and that is helping fuel the interest, Fultheim said.

Gaining the support of ScaleMP also is a big deal to AMD, according to Margaret Lewis, director of product marketing at the chip vendors.

"The ability for our customers to aggregate individual AMD Opteron processor-based servers into a virtual high-end symmetric multiprocessor computer with vSMP Foundation is a game-changer," Lewis said in a statement. "Our customers can now easily build a cost-effective large memory and CPU system out of up to 128 servers to help meet their high-performance computing needs."

A limited release of the software that supports the AMD chips will become available Oct. 1, with general availability set for Nov. 21.

ScaleMP's vSMP Foundation software is designed to enable businesses to create a single virtual SMP system by letting them view multiple commodity servers and allowing them to function as a single logical system. The goal is to reduce the complexity and costs that are inherent in traditional SMP systems. Until this support of AMD's Opteron chips, ScaleMP's software could only be used with Intel-based systems.

ScaleMP has garnered about 300 customers worldwide since releasing is first product in 2006, touching on such industries as financial services, chip development and defense to pharmaceuticals, life sciences and government, Fultheim said.

The company's vSMP Foundation software is aimed at three types of businesses: Those running clustered systems who are seeking easier cluster management capabilities as a way of reducing operating expenses; those with shared memory applications looking to move to less expensive systems running on x86 chips to cut capital expenses; and businesses with a cloud environment that holds a single infrastructure that runs all applications. The last category enables greater flexibility, Fultheim said.