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Opteron or Xeon for KVM virtualization server

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December 11, 2012 10:04:32 AM

I need to build a new 1u server system for virtualization using linux kvm (guests are mixed linux/ windows, all 64bit). It must have at least 32GB ram, 64GB prefered. Would you suggest going for an opteron or xeon system taking initial costs (buy) and runtime costs (power consumption) into account? Could you recommend a specific configuration? Thanks in adance for your help/ advice :) 
December 11, 2012 10:26:24 AM

I don't know much about server systems but personally I'd go for the xeon build. More expensive but better performance , I had a dual xeon system once ( Given by a university for aero space engineering ) and worked like a charm.
Anonymous
December 11, 2012 12:49:02 PM

The company I work for has 3 x HP DL385 G7 that are Opteron powered, these are running ESXi 5. They where are the time a higher core density and far cheaper than XEONs which is why we decided to purchase them.

In hindsight I doubt we would make the same decision again, one of the VMs is quite a substantial Oracle Database/WebApp and even with far more memory and more cores than it had when it was on a physical box the performance isn't what was expected, this may not be completely down to the Opterons but I cant help feeling the performance may have better if we had chosen Intel.

Just my 2p's worth.
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December 11, 2012 1:16:54 PM

This really depends heavily on the type of workload that you are dealing with. The big thing with these servers when comparing an AMD option to an Intel option is going to be the initial VALUE compared at the same price point.

Take for instance the HP DL380p G8 servers with a single Intel Xeon six-core 2.3 Ghz processor and 16 GB of RAM. It is about the same cost (slightly more expensive) than the HP DL385p G8 server which comes with two twelve-core 2.6 Ghz processors and 32 GB of RAM. With the AMD option you're even getting both redundant power supplies instead of just a single PSU. That means you are getting a whole lot more processor cores and twice the RAM for about the same cost or even less.

Clock for clock the Intel solution will beat the AMD platform. However, you are looking at the greatest value at a set price point, it's hard to really knock the AMD platform because of the power you can get at that same price. Not too long ago we set up an HP DL385 G7 as well with dual Opterons and it has more than enough performance and flexibility to meet our needs as we are only needing to run three VMs off of it. But when we bought it it was by far the best option as it gave us far more performance headroom and came initially with more included than going with a server at the same price point with Intel.
Anonymous
December 11, 2012 1:49:12 PM

choucove said:
This really depends heavily on the type of workload that you are dealing with. The big thing with these servers when comparing an AMD option to an Intel option is going to be the initial VALUE compared at the same price point.

Take for instance the HP DL380p G8 servers with a single Intel Xeon six-core 2.3 Ghz processor and 16 GB of RAM. It is about the same cost (slightly more expensive) than the HP DL385p G8 server which comes with two twelve-core 2.6 Ghz processors and 32 GB of RAM. With the AMD option you're even getting both redundant power supplies instead of just a single PSU. That means you are getting a whole lot more processor cores and twice the RAM for about the same cost or even less.

Clock for clock the Intel solution will beat the AMD platform. However, you are looking at the greatest value at a set price point, it's hard to really knock the AMD platform because of the power you can get at that same price. Not too long ago we set up an HP DL385 G7 as well with dual Opterons and it has more than enough performance and flexibility to meet our needs as we are only needing to run three VMs off of it. But when we bought it it was by far the best option as it gave us far more performance headroom and came initially with more included than going with a server at the same price point with Intel.


Core count vs Core clock was basically how we made our choice, at the time the Intel 6 cores where just about to be released and were massively expensive. So in the end we settled for dual 8 core Opterons and 64GB RAM per host.
December 11, 2012 5:09:59 PM

Thank you everybody for your answers so far.

I'm now comparing those two systems:

Opteron 6320
Memory (32GB ECC)
Mainboard
1U chassis
Price: 550 EUR

Xeon 1230V2
Memory (32GB ECC)
Mainboard
1U chassis
Price: 440 EUR

The operteron has 8 cores, while the xeon has 4 cores (8 with HT). I'm not really sure how much HT brings in terms of performance when using kvm virtualization ... is it comparable to an 8 core system? Another advantage of the opteron system is that it has 8 memory sockets, while the xeon has only 4. Too bad I couldn't find any benchmarks for the 6320, but only for the 1230V2.

What do you think in terms of price, power usage and performance?
May 2, 2014 12:16:07 PM

http://www.principledtechnologies.com/Intel/Xeon_E5-269...

Something to munch on. after researching a bit myself, it appears that the intel cpu's simply do virtualization better but at a premium. amd tends to have more cores, but the performance is lacking. so it is really tough to determine which ideal solution is best for you.

Since it is hyperthreaded and the competition is an 8 core, i would lean more towards the intel on this one. me thinks that the performance would be a tad better. but those are two very equivocal setups and i think both would do fine. the question would be the price.
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