Dell is posting VMmark results:
"Dell has recently measured
various configurations of two- and
four-socket PowerEdge servers running VMware ESX Server 3 using a beta
version of the VMmark benchmark. The graphs shows a 4-socket PowerEdge
6950 with dual-core AMD Opteron processors has 57% higher
virtualization performance than a 2-socket PowerEdge 2950 with
dual-core Intel Xeon series 5100 processors. The 2-socket PowerEdge
2900 with new quad-core Intel Xeon 5300 series processors shows 51%
better performance. Equally impressive, all three 8-core servers were
able to support the same number of heavily-loaded virtual machines." 10:47:41 AM
On the Reliability of Hard Disks:
Summarizing research papers: "there was no correlation between disk failure rates and utilization,
environmental conditions such as temperature, or age. This means that
high disk utilization or age of the disk have no significant impact on
the probability that it will fail. .. the expected remaining time until the next disk failure grows with the time it has been since the last failure...
They did find a strong correlation
between manufacturer/model and failure rates. They observed that older
disks had a much lower failure rates then newer disks, where the newer
disks in general were less expensive. Basically you get what you pay
when you talk about disk reliability. ..
The only exception to the lack of correlation was that infant mortality rate for disks showed a correlation with high utilization: if a new disk is really crappy you can detect this by putting a high load on it. ..
Both papers report disk failure rates in the 6%-10% range: in a datacenter with about 100,000 disks you will need to replace up to between 6,000 and 10,000 disks per year. " 10:44:53 AM