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Virtual Cloud Infrastructure for HPC

Yesterday we announced a pile of new software releases all aimed at creating the integrated virtual cloud infrastructure needed to support cloud computing. Among the announcements was vSphere 5.0, a major release of our virtualization platform.

This quick post is intended to mention a few items of interest to HPC users. First, with vSphere 5.0 we now support virtual machines with up to 32 virtual CPUs (vCPUs) and 1 TB of memory, up from eight vCPUs and 256 GB in the current version. This is much friendlier to OpenMP and other threaded applications capable of consuming large amounts of on-node resources.

We are also introducing virtual NUMA (vNUMA) support in vSphere 5.0, which should be of great interest to the HPC community in that it allows Linux and NUMA-aware runtime layers to “see” the NUMA topology underlying their virtual machine so they can correctly optimize memory use for high performance. Note that this should not be confused with hypervisor NUMA-awareness, which has been available for quite some time in our hypervisor, ESX.

We have submitted a workshop paper that discusses vNUMA in detail and presents scaling and performance results for SPEC OMP 2001. I will share this on the blog as soon as possible.

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