With solutions built upon virtualization becoming all the more common, it is important to understand how the underlying hardware may or may not work with the chosen hypervisor platform.
Whether putting together a server solution based on Tier 1 or Intel’s server products, it is up to us to be “in the know” when it comes to how the hardware will work or not work for virtualization.
For instance, Intel’s add-in server class NICs have older versions that do not support advanced virtualization capabilities such as Intel Virtualization Technology for Connectivity (Intel VT-c).
The new VT-c enabled NICs enable some task offloading from the CPUs as well as direct hypervisor access to the NIC hardware.
The following screenshot of Intel’s NIC site show clearly which NICs are VT-c enabled and which ones are not:
From Intel’s VT-c site linked above:
To optimize these opportunities, Intel® VT-c provides I/O technologies that optimize virtualized performance:
- Enhanced data acceleration across the Intel® multi-core processors platforms
- Improved data processing performance across multiple queues on the network controller
- Direct VM connectivity and data protection between the VMs
Server hardware is evolving at an extremely fast rate. We are fortunate that Intel has structured their product releases in a Tick-Tock Model thus giving us adoption room around each Tick-Tock cycle.
Otherwise we would be completely inundated and that would be a real problem.
For us, being at the Associate Level in the Intel Reseller Partner Program is also very helpful in providing us with the directions Intel is taking with their products. There are a lot more benefits to becoming a part of the program for us small I.T. shops too.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book