Last week at Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco Citrix demoed a number of industry firsts using XenServer and Intel SR-IOV NICs:
* Full line-rate bi-directional 2x10Gb/s performance into virtual machines, using substantially less CPU than conventional software NIC virtualization, along with reduced network latency.
* Seamlessly transition between software NIC virtualization and SR-IOV hardware NIC virtualization, without interruption to a VM’s network connectivity
* Live-relocation (XenMotion) of a virtual machine that is making use of SR-IOV NIC acceleration to another host, automatically using SR-IOV NIC acceleration on the destination XenServer host where available.
SR-IOV NIC technology enables applications with extreme networking demands (such as exceptionally high bandwidth or requirements for very low network latency) that were previously poor candidates for virtualization to now be virtualized with near-native performance. Examples of such applications might include certain high-performance computing applications (known as “message passing” applications), networking services and appliances etc.
Here is the demo in action: