With our 2010 server upgrade we're doing more than just replacing hardware, we're moving to a fully virtualized server environment. We're constructing two private clouds, one for our heavy database applications and one for everything else. The point of creating two independent clouds is to equip them with different levels of hardware - more memory/IO for the db cloud and something a bit more reasonable for the main cloud. Within each cloud we're looking to completely duplicate all hardware to make our environment much more manageable. 

The first hardware we got in for the upgrade were our CPUs. We're moving from a 28 server setup to a 12 server environment. Each server has two CPU sockets and we're populating them with Intel Xeon L5640s.


The L5640 is a 32nm Westmere processor with 6-cores/12MB L3 per chip. The L indicates a lower voltage part. The L5640 carries a 60W TDP thanks to its 2.26GHz clock speed. We're mostly power constrained in our racks so saving on power is a top priority.

Each server will have two of these chips, that's 12-cores/24-threads per server. We've reviewed Intel's Xeon 5670 as well as the L5640 in particular. As Johan concluded in his review, the L5640 makes sense for us as we have hard power limits at the rack level and are charged extra for overages.

There's not much else to show off at this point but over the coming days/weeks you'll see more documentation from our upgrade process.


Hopefully this will result in better performance for all of you as well as more uptime as we can easily scale hardware within our upcoming cloud infrastructure. 

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  • sublifer - Tuesday, August 31, 2010 - link


    Agreed. Xenserver can virtualize any OS and does so better than many others. They've also got the line on virtualizing citrix farms. I've not gotten into the heavy stuff but I use Xenserver and like it. I liked the OSS version better but I've already migrated to citrix version... Last I checked, Hyper-V couldn't virtualize anything but Windows and they certainly don't mind it if anyone buys more licenses for a given piece of hardware. I use MS where I need to but avoid it if I can. And with virtualization, it lets me avoid a lot of expensive license purchases :) Yay me!
  • mino - Tuesday, August 31, 2010 - link

    And epic one at that.
  • Acanthus - Monday, August 30, 2010 - link

    Although i think that is more the forum software than a hardware or resource issue.
  • scooterlibby - Monday, August 30, 2010 - link

    I don't know apricot one about servers, but this series looks to be quite interesting. Keep it up!
  • joyufat - Monday, August 30, 2010 - link

    Are you building these servers from scratch (i.e. buying the parts separately) or are you buying this from a vendor? Would be interesting to know which way you went and why.
  • Casper42 - Wednesday, September 1, 2010 - link

    I was going to ask the same.
    I assume based on this first article that they are rolling their own.
    My question was going to be WHY?

    If your site is important and by Virtualizing you are putting more eggs in each basket...
    I would think you would want one of the big 3 (HP/IBM/Dell) backing you up with a 24x7x4h Warranty uplift (very common across all vendors) in case of a hardware failure.

    Another bonus is some if not all of those vendors offer Power Capping so you can make sure that your machines dont exceed that power cap you mentioned before. I know on the HPs with either some optional software or by using a c7000 blade chassis you can Cap across all your machines so there is a little wiggle room rather than each machine having a hard cap.
  • dreamlane - Monday, August 30, 2010 - link

    This is a good intro post, and I look forward to more info about your server build choices.
  • drank12quartsstrohsbeer - Monday, August 30, 2010 - link

    Are you paying full retail for this equipment?
  • Casper42 - Wednesday, September 1, 2010 - link

    Nobody pays retail in the server market
  • vol7ron - Monday, August 30, 2010 - link

    is this a giveaway? i want :)

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