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Dell Demonstrates Industry First Virtualization Capabilities Through Joint Solution with Intel and Citrix


SR-IOV technology, based on industry standards, delivers new levels of virtualization performance.

Dell today demonstrated the industry’s first Single Root I/O Virtualization (SR-IOV) solution based on industry standards using technologies from Intel and Citrix to help improve virtualization performance across networked servers and storage. The companies collaborated to develop technology based on PCI-SIG I/O Virtualization specifications and Intel Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (Intel® VT-d) to allow multiple operating systems to share a physical interconnect.

Functional technology demonstrations are being showcased at the Exhibitor Booths within the Virtualization Community at the Intel Developers Forum 2009, September 22 through 24 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, Calif. Intel Developer Forum attendees can view the showcase at exhibit booth #711 and discuss it with Dell, Intel and Citrix experts.

The News:

* Dell and Intel worked closely with Citrix to develop a standards-based SR-IOV solution to help improve virtualization performance.
* This solution utilizes Intel VT-d and the Intel® 82599 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10 GE) device with support for PCI-SIG SR-IOV specification and to allow multiple virtual machines (VMs) running on Citrix XenServer in a Dell™ PowerEdge™ R710 with Intel® Xeon® processor 5500 to directly share I/O devices.
* In this solution, instead of a hypervisor virtualizing an I/O device in the software and sharing that emulated virtual NIC with multiple VMs, a single I/O hardware itself is subdivided logically to appear as 128 virtual NICs. Each NIC is assigned independently and directly to a virtual machine to provide precise per-VM control for connection speed and quality of service.
* Dell PowerEdge R710 server equipped with a SR-IOV enabled BIOS along with Citrix XenServer virtualization software is designed to use Intel VT-d and SR-IOV to remove I/O virtualization bottlenecks to increase performance, efficiency, and scalability with high performance I/O devices. In preliminary lab tests, this technology reduces processor utilization, increases bandwidth to virtual machines and improves data transfer rates across the network.
* In addition to improved virtualization performance, SR-IOV technology cuts hardware costs by reducing the number of physical network cards, cables, and switch ports required in a virtualization environment to connect storage and servers. This SR-IOV technology works with existing 10GE switches from multiple vendors and does not require proprietary switching infrastructure.

Dell Quote:
“We are pleased to demonstrate I/O virtualization performance improvements that will make a business impact for latency intensive applications like data mining, databases and stock trades. Companies will be able to take advantage of these boosts without incurring great costs as it works with existing investments in networking infrastructures and does not require additional networking switches and cables.” --Sally Stevens, vice president Platform Marketing, Dell

Partner Quotes:
“SR-IOV support in Citrix XenServer will allow our customers to achieve full 10GE wire-speed performance with minimal hypervisor overhead while sharing the capacity between multiple VMs. It enables the most demanding database and transaction processing workloads to be virtualized with rock-solid performance. Use of 10GE reduces wiring cost and power consumption, and allows VMs to quickly boot and migrate between servers. Just as importantly, multiple VM instances can now share full, direct access to 10GE hardware based networking. This allows the instantiation of VM instances per tenant or per application in cloud environments, each with guaranteed capacity.” -- Simon Crosby, CTO, Data Center and Cloud Division, Citrix Systems

“Intel is pleased to collaborate with other industry leaders to stay at the forefront of virtualization innovation. This new SR-IOV based solution along with Intel VT-d offers a standard way of sharing the capacity of any given I/O device for the most efficient use of resources in a virtual system.”-- Boyd Davis, General Manager, Data Center Group Marketing, Intel has worked with Intel and Dell to offer full support for SR-IOV in the Xen code base. Support is available in Xen 3.3, and SR-IOV will also be fully supported in the forthcoming Xen Cloud Platform, which has the potential to dramatically enrich cloud infrastructures.” -- Ian Pratt, founder and chair,


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