back to article Virtual management - a lesson from history

I have worked with many different virtualisation platforms, from Microsoft’s early attempts with Virtual Server 2005 to the latest VMWare, Hyper-V, KVM and Xen offerings. I have taken the time to play with the management software offered by these vendors, and even a few of the third-party stuff. Depending on your specific needs …

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  1. BlueGreen

    interesting but -

    > Without that single-thread performance, we are limited to only being able to grow workloads that can be parallelised

    - would like to ask, what kind of stuff are you talking about that can't be paralised? In the real world I mean, I know the theoretical limits but I've rarely (probably never) butted up against them.

    I've usually found that bottlenecked stuff is only thus constrained because the 'wetware' hasn't been applied to it. Do that and you can often get orders of magnitude improvements, no new machinery needed.

    > there’s just no viable replacement for a well trained systems administrator who knows his network

    Hmm. I'd like to say well Duh, because there is never a replacement for common sense & knowing your subject. Anyone who thinks there is shouldn't be in a business. 'cept they are aren't they.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      @Bluegreen

      "Would like to ask, what kind of stuff are you talking about that can't be paralised? In the real world I mean, I know the theoretical limits but I've rarely (probably never) butted up against them."

      Well, talking strictly "real world" stuff, we run up against this with render engines a lot. You can render many different things at the same time, but you can only render one thing in one thread. If you are applying multiple filters to a frame or image, you have to wait until filter 1 is done before filter 2 is applied, because it needs to corrected image from filter 1. We hit this wall all the time, since the vast majority of our data requirements are rendering terabytes of images every month.

      I also see many video decoders that can be at best PARTLY parallelized, but which still have to do the bulk of their work in a single thread. This leaves you really dependant on the speed of that primary core. There are other examples, (such as speech recognition, facial recognition sets and other biometrics processing that seem to require one large thread with a bunch of much smaller ones.)

      “Hmm. I'd like to say well Duh, because there is never a replacement for common sense & knowing your subject. Anyone who thinks there is shouldn't be in a business. 'cept they are aren't they.”

      The world moves ever faster towards replacing all wetware with hardware and software. No matter who you are, your job will eventually be done by some form of robot. Why should systems administration be immune. Just think of all the neat programs we use every day that once upon a time would have required a human being to do the work.

      If you have the money for the software licenses, you can run an IT department on a shockingly low number of people. When you start talking managing a thousand or so servers, it becomes a real consideration, as the wetware overhead to do that manually starts to edge higher than the cost of the management software.

      For SMEs, wetware is simply the cheaper option.

      For now.

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