Cisco is getting some (more) recognition with their UCS blade server product, as they recently achieved the top position for “8 Core Server” on VMware’s VMmark benchmark tool. VMmark is the industry’s first (and only credible) virtualization benchmark for x86-based computers. According to the VMmark website, the Cisco UCS B200 blade server reached a score of 25.06 @ 17 tiles. A “tile” is simple a collection of virtual machines (VM’s) that are executing a set of diverse workloads designed to represent a natural work environment. The total number of tiles that a server can handle provides a detailed measurement of that server’s consolidation capacity.

Cisco’s Winning Configuration
So – how did Cisco reach the top server spot? Here’s the configuration:

server config:

  • 2 x Intel Xeon X5570 Processors
  • 96GB of RAM (16 x 8GB)
  • 1 x Converged Network Adapter (Cisco UCS M71KR-Q)

storage config:

  • EMC CX4-240
  • Cisco MDS 9130
  • 1154.27GB Used Disk Space
  • 1024MB Array Cache
  • 41 disks used on 4 enclosures/shelves (1 with 14 disk, 3 with 9 disks)
  • 37 LUNs used
    *17 at 38GB (file server + mail server) over 20 x 73GB SSDs
    *17 at 15GB (database) + 2 LUNs at 400GB (Misc) over 16 x 450GB 15k disks
    * 1 LUN at 20GB (boot) over 5 x 300GB 15k disks
  • RAID 0 for VMs, RAID 5 for VMware ESX 4.0 O/S

While first place on the VMmark page (8 cores) shows Fujitsu’s RX300, it’s important to note that it was reached using Intel’s W5590 processor – a processor that is designed for “workstations” – not servers. Second place, of server processors, currently shows HP’s BL490 with 24.54 (@ 17 tiles)

Thanks to Omar Sultan (@omarsultan) for Tweeting about this and to Harris Sussman for blogging about it.

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