3Leaf Systems today announced it has obtained a license for Intel’s QuickPath Interconnect, which will allow it to build virtualization support for Intel servers. Previously, the company only had a HyperTransport license and only supported AMD servers.
3Leaf uses a direct communication network between server CPUs so data does not have to go over an Ethernet or Fibre Channel connection. The company fabricates special virtualization processors for the motherboard to virtualize the CPUs, memory and I/O of the entire datacenter.
The 3Leaf technology breaks down the physical walls of x86 servers and makes their resources available, as needed, across the datacenter. One of the problems in data centers is one group of servers dedicated to a task might be running at 5 % utilization, while another group is maxed out and needs more CPU cycles and more memory.
“We are enabling the next generation of the datacenter, which are going to be dynamic data centers, where resources, compute, memory or I/O could be made available to the applications on an on demand basis rather than in a static way the way it exists today,” said B.V. Jagadeesh, president and CEO of 3Leaf.
“At the end of the day we’re almost reinventing the mainframe here,” said George Crump, founder and president of Storage Switzerland, an analyst firm focused on the storage and virtualization marketplaces. “I spoke to someone at American Express who said ‘VMware is great but I can’t scale outside the box.’ I think we’re going to see that, where flexibility will require the ability to virtualize outside of the sheet metal.”
The solution is an unusual one: a chip to handle the load balancing that goes into the processor socket. So instead of an Opteron or Xeon on the motherboard socket, a 3Leaf processor goes in its place. A PCI Express card isn’t an option, as the bus is not fast enough.
The AMD-based 3Leaf processor is planned for the first half of 2009 while the Intel one is planned for the first half of 2010.