Virtualization Technology News and Information
SPEC Releases Server Virtualization Benchmark

The non-profit Standard Performance Evaluation Corp. (SPEC) has released SPECvirt_sc2010, the first vendor-neutral benchmark to measure the performance of datacenter servers used for virtualized server consolidation. The new benchmark also includes options for measuring power consumption and power/performance relationships.

SPECvirt_sc2010 uses a realistic workload and SPEC’s proven performance- and power measurement methodologies to enable vendors, users and researchers to compare system performance across multiple hardware, virtualization platforms, and applications. It was developed by the SPEC virtualization subcommittee, whose members and contributors include AMD, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, Intel, Oracle, Red Hat, and VMware.

Reflecting real-world performance

SPECvirt_sc2010 provides an overall workload based on applications that are commonly used for virtualized server consolidation. Workloads of various sizes are injected into the benchmark at different time periods during the benchmark run, representing the typical spikes experienced in real-world server environments. Scaling is achieved by running an increasing number of virtual machines (called “tiles”) until overall throughput reaches a peak or workloads fail to meet required quality of service (QoS) criteria.

Three categories of results can be generated by SPECvirt_sc2010:

  • Performance-only results, where the overall score is calculated by taking each component workload in each tile and normalizing it against its theoretical maximum for the predefined load level.
  • Power/performance for the total system (server and storage).
  • Power/performance for the server only.

Right benchmark, right time

SPEC’s latest benchmark comes at a time when virtualization is becoming integral to datacenter management: The analyst firm International Data Corp. (IDC) reports that 18.2 percent of all new servers in the fourth quarter of 2009 were virtualized, an increase of three percent over the same period in 2008.

“We’ve delivered a performance evaluation tool that leverages workloads from SPEC’s worldwide standard benchmarks for web, mail and application servers, plus established power measurement components from the SPECpower subcommittee,” says Paula Smith, chair of the SPEC virtualization subcommittee.

“This is a case of the right benchmark at the right time from the right organization,” says Andrew Bond, the subcommittee’s vice chair. “Anyone involved with server virtualization should benefit from running the benchmark in their own environment or accessing results from the SPEC web site.”

Available now

SPECvirt_sc2010 is available immediately from SPEC for $3,000; discounts are available for qualified non-profit and educational institutions. More information and initial benchmark results are available at

Published Wednesday, July 14, 2010 6:33 PM by David Marshall
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