Show 88 – Server Internals and Network Performance

Having met at VMworld 2010, Daniel Bowers and I were having an ongoing discussion around server architectures and how they impact network performance. I convinced him to come onto the show and talk broadly about what goes on inside a server. Mostly we focus on how server performance impacts network performance. I wouldn’t call this a deep dive, more of an overview into some of the ideas to keep in the top of your head.

This show was recorded on 4th October 2011. It’s taken a while to find a slot where we can publish this show – we’ve got too much to talk about.

  • PCI Express bus connections can support 10GbE.
  • PCI Express is a point to point connection
  • Memory performance affects network performance.
  • You may get better performance with less memory modules according the type of memory bus in use.
  • Physical slots in the chassis have different properties.
  • Servers don’t make good switches


Daniel Bowers is an server design engineer and marketeer who analyzes server architectures and performance for the IT research firm Ideas International.  He’s also a primary representative at SPEC and TPC.   Follow him on Twitter, or read his blogs on

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