Microsoft migrates MSDN and TechNet on Hyper-V virtual machines

Posted by Staff   |   Friday, May 23rd, 2008   |  

For a prospect customer there’s nothing better than a real-world implementation to realize the potential or a certain technology. And this is very true in an almost unexplored technology like virtualization.

Microsoft, which eats its own dog food since the Virtual Server 2005 era, just announced the complete migration of both MSDN and TechNet, two of the most popular web sites in the world, on virtual machines.

Microsoft kept the back-end database on physical boxes, but moved 100% of its IIS7 frond-ends on Hyper-V RC0 VMs with 4 virtual CPUs and 10GB RAM.
The virtualization hosts (no mention of the brand obviously) are powered by 2 Intel quad-core CPUs and 32GB RAM (2GB are reserved for the Windows Server 2008 parent partition).

MSDN on Hyper-V

The performance report after this migration is very interesting:

  • Hyper-V CPU overhead (as measured by the parent partition utilization) was 5% to 6% with linear progression as the number of requests increased.
  • CPU oversubscription (three four-processor VMs on an eight-processor physical server) resulted in 3% lower overall performance per physical server based on overall requests per second per 1 percent CPU.
  • Requests per second per 1% CPU performance of MSDN over the previous physical server platform improved. This demonstrates to us the viability of efficient consolidation from dedicated older physical servers to shared virtualized platforms.
  • Physical MSDN handled 21% more requests per second per 1% CPU than virtualized MSDN.

Since this data would be much more meaningful knowing some details about the guest OS workloads (which are not published), reached Microsoft and received the following numbers:

  • the MSDN front-end serves more than 3 million page views per day
  • the TechNet front-end serves more than 1 million page views per day

Read the whole report here.

It would be interesting reading something similar from VMware, which so far never disclosed anything about how its own technology is used inside the company.


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