The Standard Performance Evaluation Corp. (SPEC) has launched a subgroup to come up with a benchmark to see how well computers handle a variety of tasks running on a virtualization foundation. Virtualization lets a single computer run separate operating systems in different compartments called virtual machines.
"SPEC has picked up virtualization as a new subgroup. They will drive industry toward a standard way of making this kind of virtualization comparison," said Stephen Herrod, vice president of technology development at VMware, speaking during a presentation at the company's VMworld conference here.
Virtual machine technology has existed for years on high-end servers, but it's coming to mainstream servers using x86 processors through products such as, and . Virtualization holds promise for efficiency and reliability, but it incurs a performance penalty.
Members of SPEC's virtualization subgroup include AMD, Intel, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Sun Microsystems, Fujitsu Siemens and EMC subsidiary VMware.
But don't expect fast results. "Standards organizations don't move super-quickly. It'll be realistically over a year before 'SPECvm' or whatever will be there," Herrod said.
Until the SPEC benchmark is complete, VMware encourages use of its in-house benchmark, VMmark, which it debuted in September and detailed at the conference.