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SAP LinuxLab Virtualization Certification Workshop

The SAP LinuxLab ensures that released SAP software will run on a certain software and hardware combination. When talking about the underlying software and hardware stack, the definition of both was very clear in the past. The software is the distribution and the hardware is the bare metal in the data center. By introducing virtualization the whole definition becomes misty. From the distributors point view, the virtualization layer is handled as if it is new hardware. From hardware perspective, the virtualization layer is another software layer in between.  
Having virtualization around doesn’t make life easier from a certification point of view. As a result, the SAP LinuxLab decided to host a Linux Virtualization Certification Workshop. Goal of this workshop is the technical certification of a general processor platform with a state of the art virtualization technology. By saying processor platform the LinuxLab does not focus on a certain server model of a hardware partner. New processor platforms introduce features which are sometimes crucial for the performance when running in virtualized environments. The performance measurement in the workshop will cover these three parts of the system: I/O performance, memory performance and CPU performance.
The interesting part is of the workshop will be, how the virtualization layer handles workloads with allocate more resources then physically available. This means, what happens to the systems if 125% or even 150% of the physical resources are given to the virtual machines? That the performance will drop is likely to happen, but by which factor? Does the performance of an individual system go down to 66% if there is a 150% over commitment situation? Furthermore, all three main performance areas to be measured may have a different impact.
A question which may arise could be: What can someone do with such performance figures? Having them gives you a guideline level of performance you may expect in the worst case. When planning your SAP system landscape would be able to know, which systems can be placed on the same host and which shouldn’t, because some of them need guaranteed CPU cycles to finish their jobs in time? Another important reason for such a workshop is the possibility for all SAP partners working with Linux and virtualization to meet and exchange their knowledge and opinions. Having a neutral party like SAP doing the certification is maybe the strongest reason. Actually, the SAP LinuxLab want to give the best advises to you, the customer. Therefore we need to know some facts before giving advises.
The SAP LinuxLab Virtualization Workshop till take place on calendar week 5. Information about this workshop can be found on the SDN Wiki page here. I hope we’ll see some reasonable performance figures. Stay tuned and visit the Wiki at any time during calendar week 5 to get the latest information.

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