IBM and Intel have proposed a new benchmark for virtualisation.

The vConsolidate measure covers processor and memory throughput efficiency on two or more servers and should help IT planning departments simulate the workloads they are planning to consolidate and determine the best hardware platform for them, explained Intel's server marketing head Lorie Wigle.

The joint Intel and IBM benchmark should be ready for users sometime in the first half of next year, she said. The companies have put it forward to the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC) which announced earlier this month it had created a working group to start development on just such a benchmark.

Non-profit SPEC has developed a wide range of IT benchmarks and set up a working group on that includes representation from the major vendors, including IBM, Intel, AMD, Dell, Sun and HP. Virtualisation software vendors are also expected to participate, and IT managers have been invited to contribute ideas to a standards process.

A benchmark has to be consistent across all operating platforms and has to be "fair for everybody involved," according to SPEC spokesman Bob Cramblitt, who said parts of what the vendors contribute to the standards effort may be included in a final standard. "Nobody is going to let one vendor get away with something that might favour their particular configuration."

Jay Bretzmann, manager of System x product marketing at IBM, said the benchmark is now being used by other vendors. He said a tool for measuring performance across larger servers is needed because customers are putting more important and strategic workloads in virtualisation environments.

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