Server virtualization is not an idea whose time has come to HPC. One of the big economic motivations that have driven the adoption of virtualization in the enterprise — server consolidation — simply doesn’t apply in HPC where utilization is typically north of the high 80s. Timothy Prickett Morgan agrees wholeheartedly with this in an article at The Register in which he also points out that there is at least the potential for some adoption on the basis of configuration flexibility and manageability
It is possible that HPC shops wanting to run distinct applications on different flavors of Linux or a mix of Linux and Windows will use hypervisors allow for this configuring and reconfiguring more easily. But plenty of people are skeptical of the idea.
“The biggest use of virtualization is to allow multiple applications to run protected,” explains David Scott, petascale product line architect in Intel’s HPC platform unit. “This is potentially an area. Customers are thinking about it, but no one has done it yet.”
I agree that there is a potential for this, but we aren’t seeing any demand at all in the day job (very high end scientific HPC center), and I suspect that if I proposed it I would have to sit in the penalty box for a week.