20 Mar 2017 Grenoble - New hypervisor technology developed as part of EUROSERVER is set to bring significant power savings for data centres. The MicroVisor is a lightweight, remotely controllable and fully configurable virtualization platform that is optimized to operate on all mainstream processors, thus offering a flexible and economical option for data centre architects. By increasing server utilization to unprecedented levels, the MicroVisor helps remove the virtualisation tax typical on cloud service hypervisors, meaning fewer or smaller low power servers are needed and thereby enabling energy savings.
EUROSERVER is a project tasked by the European Commission to develop an energy-efficient server design that can meet the expected demands of exascale computing beyond 2020. The project has developed a range of tools designed to support ARM-based data centres, including the MicroVisor. The MicroVisor has been developed at London-based OnApp, a company specializing in Cloud management platforms that has been an integral member of the EUROSERVER consortium.
OnApp's Chief Scientific Officer, Julian Chesterfield, commented: "We took a Type-1 hypervisor and reduced its footprint. We've taken away the localised controller overhead and created a 'clustered hypervisor technology', which means that we can decentralize the control to manage thousands of low power MicroVisor nodes, offering real power savings."
The MicroVisor works by simplifying how input/output interfaces are presented to virtualization workloads. This multi-tenant system takes a physicalization approach, mapping a virtual storage device onto an underlying ethernet interface resulting in low latency and high performance, which transpose into meaningful reductions in energy consumption.
It is designed to work optimally with UNIMEM, a hardware-assisted memory sharing technology also developed by the EUROSERVER consortium and that allows multiple boards to share physical memory between themselves. Working in unison for optimal power-saving, they allow for better scaling of computer and memory resources, thus paving the way for processor architecture that can cope with the exascale computing workloads that will define the data centre of the future.
The MicroVisor is being released commercially as an integrated system on top of KMAX, an ultra-dense low power ARM-based true-converged server appliance created by KALEAO Ltd., UK. KALEAO is one of two start-ups that are bringing to the market technologies investigated in EUROSERVER. Zeropoint Technologies AB, Gothenburg offers memory compression technologies that have the potential to significantly compress the content of the cache and memory system, with the effect of creating three times more memory.
EUROSERVER, which was coordinated by CEA-Leti, Grenoble and concluded earlier this year, has made a number of breakthroughs in data centre design, including the prototyping of two platform testbeds: the Juno R2 development board-based system and the UltraScale+, Trenz-powered development platform. Both have energy-efficient quad-core ARM 64-bit Cortex A53 processors, with the Juno also featuring a big.LITTLE design and a Cortex A72 processor. The NEAT designed, EUROSERVER UltraScale+ boards have a Trenz 0808 module and a place-holder for a 32-core ARM System in Package.
Consortium coordinator Isabelle Dor of CEA-Leti concluded: "EUROSERVER has delivered wide-ranging energy saving technologies for data centres. Although this project has come to an end, several follow-up projects will take the baton of making the vital steps towards a 'European server' that will keep the continent competitive in the ever-changing global ICT marketplace."
More information is available at the EUROSERVER project website.