Intel releases new CPUs and NICs with nested page tables and I/O virtualization

Intel announced the availability of its new 45nm enterprise-class CPU: the Xeon 5500 series (codenamed Nehalem).

The new processor features a lot of much awaited components like:

§  an integrated memory controller

§  a new point-to-point processor interconnect (QuickPath Interconnect) that replaces the Front Side Bus (FSB)

§  the nested page tables technology (Extended Page Tables or EPT), part of Intel VT-x

§  the I/O virtualization technology (VT-d) that supports the VMware VMDirectPath technology




To highlight the performance improvement, VMware published three new benchmarks measured with VMmark that scores impressive results for three different two-socket systems (8 cores):

§  HP ProLiant DL370 G6 (Xeon 5580) – 23.96 with 16 tiles

§  Dell PowerEdge R710 (Xeon 5570) – 23.55 with 16 tiles

§  Inspur NF5280 (Xeon 5570) – 23.45 with 17 tiles

The best performance scored by a two-socket system before the ones above was just 9.15 with 7 tiles obtained with a HP ProLiant ML370 G5 and Xeon 5470 CPUs.

Also Citrix published some performance analysis of its XenServer running on top of Nehalem CPUs, reporting an improvement of 53%:


Along with Nehalem, Intel also released a new NIC, the 82599 10GbE, that features the I/O virtualization technology for networking components called VT-c.

The VT-c components included in this NIC are:

§  Virtual Machine Device Queues (VMDq) which improves performance and CPU utilization by offloading the data-sorting burden from the VMM to the network controller. Recent enhancements include offloading inter-VM switching within a server.

§  Virtual Machine Direct Connect (VMDc) which provides near-native performance by facilitating direct assignment of a virtual function on an Ethernet port to a VM.
VMDc includes both Single-Root I/O Virtualization (SR-IOV) and VM mobility.



About PiroNet

Didier Pironet is an independent blogger and freelancer with +15 years of IT industry experience. Didier is also a former VMware inc. employee where he specialised in Datacenter and Cloud Infrastructure products as well as Infrastructure, Operations and IT Business Management products. Didier is passionate about technologies and he is found to be a creative and a visionary thinker, expressing with passion and excitement, hopefully inspiring and enrolling people to innovation and change.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s