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Almost every organization is either considering a private cloud or has already begun implementation. The host server architecture is a key component of the private cloud virtual infrastructure. The cost-performance sweet spot for virtualization hosting is typically an x86 server featuring two-socket multi-core processors.

Historically, virtualization scalability has been constrained by processor and memory limitations. However, advances in processor technology yield impressive virtualization ratios. With the virtual-to-physical ratios enabled by multi-core processor advances and supporting memory, it doesn’t matter what the size of the company is, everyone can benefit from a private cloud. Before you dismiss this as cloud washing, consider: a two-socket/twelve-core physical server based on the current Intel Xeon processor platform can theoretically support up to 192 virtual machines in a private cloud environment. Depending on the rack configuration (including servers, storage, networking and backup power), that’s the equivalent of four or five racks of servers supporting single applications now consolidated on a single server. Factor in the cost of power, cooling and physical maintenance and we’re considering serious savings that no one can afford to overlook.

However, relying solely on server processing and memory capacity is no longer the sole criteria for server selection. Server consolidation of this magnitude also requires significant network bandwidth to satisfy the demand of so many applications and services. Supported applications can become resource-starved while awaiting network response.  

The network architecture of a server is frequently an overlooked topic and many organizations simply rely on the standard dual-port network interface cards (NICs) provided with the server. While the default NICs can easily support a single application, they are often insufficient to support virtualization demands. Expanded PCIe network capability may be necessary to ensure the highest network throughput. When considering servers for a private cloud environment, choose a server optimized for network capacity as well as processor and memory capabilities. 

For more information, see the Lenovo ThinkServer ViewPoint – Private Cloud Server Sweet Spot and look for new next-generation Lenovo ThinkServer systems coming soon.