Case in point: GigaSpaces and Sun Microsystems recently teamed up to address some aspects of this very problem. We demonstrated how GigaSpace’s eXtreme Application Server (XAP) is able to seamlessly scale a heavy duty transactional application and take advantage of up to 128 threads offered by Sun’s newest 16-core platform, the SPARC Enterprise T5240. Equipped with Sun’s CoolThreads Chip Multithreading (CMT) technology, this is arguably one of the best hardware virtualization technologies in town. When I say “we” I mean Shay Hassidim. See his post for more details on the tests he ran.
This brings up another interesting angle – one that troubles enterprise IT executives, and consequently the hardware vendors who sell multi-core servers to these executives.
In a recent article on Computerworld titled Multicore systems dragged down by lagging software, several enterprise executives and analysts pointed out the gap between advancements in multi core hardware platforms and [single threaded] enterprise applications. While multi-core is clearly helping enterprises drive down footprint in the data center, operating costs and complexity, a big chunk of the CPU utilization is left on the table — at least until the software problem is solved.
According to Cumputerwold Senior Writer Sharon Gaudin, the challenge from an enterprise perspective is not only how to develop new apps for multi-core machines, but also how to justify, in the economic arena we’re in right now, the massive effort needed to rewrite/replace older, internally developed applications.
Sharon, we couldn’t agree with you more. Until GigaSpaces.
Rob Enderle, an analyst at the Enderle Group in San Jose summed it up pretty well in the article: “It’s difficult to take things apart, make them run separately and then have them come together perfectly at the end”.
So, back to our scalability tests with our friends at Sun. The reason this application was able to utilize all 16 cores and 128 threads of this wonderful server [and keep them busy] is the GigaSpaces application server humming below.
Sharon, Rob et al – the missing piece in “multi-core application development” is here.