6 October 2006

Back online

by Anton Piatek

I finally have internet again after moving to Southampton (actually I got it over a week ago) though that was not without its difficulties. First BT decided that it would take them three weeks to send an engineer round to hook up our phone line, then Pipex (who I have been very happy with in the past) decided not to send me login details and wouldn’t answer my emails or phone calls.

Not happy.

Now I have found out that my old estate agent (Foxtons) have decided (well, probably my old landlord decided and foxtons, as the managing agent of the property, just went with what she said) to keep over a thousand pounds of my deposit for damage that was there when I moved into the property.

But not all is bad. I attended a large IBM performance conference for the first half of the week, and there were some incredible presentations. The best of which was the virtualisation on the newer P-Series servers from IBM. These Power PC chip based servers allow you to run several OS’ on the same box. You can either dedicate resources (i.e. disk/cpu/memory etc) to a specific OS, or have them in a general pool. This means that with a 2CPU box I could have 4 OS’ running on it, and if 3 are idle, then the one busy one can have all the cpu available.

There is some overhead for the virtualisation, as the virtual hardware manager needs some resources, but the idea is brilliant, and the actual overheads are not very high. The figures that were revealed (and don’t quote me or IBM on this) were that if you gave enough resources to the virtual hardware manager, you could have several OS’ running on only a few cpu’s and only lose 7% performance (obviously on maxing out one OS). [Actually if you put 5 copies of a program on 5 different OS’ you only lost the same ~7% compared to running the 5 copies on the same OS]

The whole thing fascinates me, and I wish I had a P-Series box of my own to play with. Unfortunately these things go up to 64-way processors so aren’t exactly in my price range…

edit: Pipex, not Pipes