Demands for computing power are on the increase. As companies search for that competitive edge they want the maximum performance out of their hardware. For most general purpose computing, that tends to be achieved through virtual machines. But not all applications can be easily virtualised and they require a lot more resources than a single machine can provide.
This is where Symmetric Multiprocessing comes in. In most datacentres, SMP means very large machine with lots of processors and memory. When one machine is not enough, you then need to scale the hardware. The problem is that scaling up - adding more hardware to solve the problem or scaling out - breaking the problem down to run on multiple machines is not only hard but expensive.
To add to the problem, most SMP solutions run on RISC processors. One company that believes it has a solution to this is ScaleMP. Their vSMP Foundation Software has just been certified for Dell PowerEdge servers allowing them to turn any collection of servers into a single high performance SMP computer.
Shai Fultheim, Founder and President , ScaleMP says "we can solve both the problem of scale-out and scale-up by aggregating computers together. If the customer needs a lot of processing power we can take a group of identical computers and aggregate them so that they appear to be a single machine. All they need is to be the same type and speed of processor. If all they need is a lot of memory, we don't care about the processor and can bring the machines together to create a very large virtual memory pool."
To ensure that the connection between the machine is fast enough, ScaleMP uses Infiniband to connect all the machine together. The vSMP Foundation Software is contained on a USB stick which is connected to each of the machines.
SMP solutions based on RISC processors can cost tens of thousands of pounds. Fultheim says "each vSMP Foundation Device costs around $3,000 but when you purchase your first device we give you a second to get you started."
it is not just standalone and rack mount servers that are being connected together according to Fultheim. "We are seeing a lot of customer with clustered solutions looking at our software. There is also a lot of interest from owners of blade systems who can take a fully loaded blade system and turn it into a very powerful SMP solution. So far IBM, SuperMicro and Dell have certified us."