Jun29

In the world of web servers, Moore’s Law is alive and well!

Posted by Clint Reeves

A recent white paper by Information Week confirms that Moore’s law is alive and well in the realm of web servers, which powers shared hosting packages, dedicated servers, reseller hosting and new VPS cloud offerings.

The visionary co-founder of Intel microprocessor chips, Gordon Moore, formulated a loose law that states that the number of transistors on a chip wills double approximately every two years.   And for decades this law has held true despite many who predicted that at some point it would impossible to progress any further.

However, recent Xeon server chip updates by Intel show that power, cores and memory are actually increasing in web servers that supply the juice to run thousands of websites on web hosting provider platforms such as Midphase.

“The latest CPUs sport six to 10 dual-threaded cores(Intel) (or 12 to 20 single-threaded for AMD), meaning each CPU can handle a dozen or more execution threads. Thus, a stock dualsocket motherboard with 16 memory sockets, holding 64 to 128 GB, is easily capable of 25 to 50 VMs per server,” said Information Week.

But with greater power comes greater drawbacks, too.  Intel’s latest nanometer manufacturing process is making transistors smaller and faster but it’s also making them hotter.  This means they are not entirely energy efficient and still pose some long-term environmental concerns when viewing web servers collectively worldwide.

But, for the time being everyone seems impressed by the new Xeon processors that look set to help make websites load faster and help web hosting providers reduce downtime for small business owners.

“Not only does the E5-series increase the top Xeon core count by a third, from 6 to 8 per chip, it almost doubles the L3 cache from 12 MB to 20 MB at only a slight loss in clock speed. The 8-core part tops out at 2.9 GHz. Intel claims these combine to yield an 80% performance improvement and they have a slew of benchmarks to back up the claim. While we hold skepticism toward benchmarks that would make Mark Twain proud, this is an impressive list with 13 records for two-socket systems and two overall records for system-level energy efficiency (workload/watt),” said Information Week.

The upshot of the above, is that Intel continues to remain ahead of AMDs Operaton series, which was released last year. Pundits seem to agree that Intel’s microprocessors appear to get more work done per clock cycle than AMD chips.

In fact, early benchmark tests by Information Week suggest that Intel may get about a 30% to 50% better performance ratio in terms of virtualization and database performance which translates into better performance for servers running blogs, dynamic websites and content management systems.

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