Buck Woody has a post this week about sensational combinations like peanut butter with chocolate (taste sensation) and SQL Server with Windows (processing sensation).
It reminded me of another recent post out on Intel’s “The Server Room” blog by Eoin McConnell urging people to get ready for the big train a-coming. Eoin wasn’t referring to one of my favorite Johnny Cash songs, he was talking about the upcoming release of Intel’s Nehalem-EX processor line for high-end computing. You should start to see new systems on the market shortly based on this CPU that will feature up to EIGHT cores per chip, Hyper Threading, a whopping 24MB of cache, and up to 9X the memory bandwidth of the previous generation of Xeon processors. Early high-end Nehalem-EX systems will ship with as many as 8 physical processors, meaning that they will appear to have as many as 128 logical processors!
The point of Eoin’s blog is that Nehalem-EX Xeon processor line is a scale up, big iron series of chips (he by the way is a RISC Segment Manager). There should be no doubt that these 128LP systems with (say) 2TB of RAM can scale up to handle some of the largest and most challenging database workloads around, but what about reliability? What may not be as well know about the Nehalem-EX line is that it includes many of the “RAS” (that’s Reliability, Availability, and Serviceability) features traditionally found in “big iron” RISC systems. “MCA Recovery” (a RAS feature included in the Nehalem-EX) detects CPU, memory, and I/O errors and works with the operating system to recover from otherwise fatal system errors. Windows has had MCA support since Windows XP (since there was a version of Windows XP for Itanium!).
So what could be better than the combination of Windows Server 2009 R2 and SQL Server 2 008 R2? How about a giant technology trifle with layers of Scalability, Reliability, Availability, Supportability, Windows, AND SQL! The great news is it won’t increase your waistline!