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As I was looking through the Windows Server 2008 R2 specifications, I saw that the maximum supported processors is 64 sockets for Datacenter addition. This puts the maximum number or cores at 256 (if all sockets are quad cores), which I think it's just silly, but whatever.

And now the questions:

  1. How does one set something like that up? (Obviously not for me, but humor me)
  2. Are there multiple dual socket motherboards running in a giant case with a ton of memory?
  3. How does the OS see all of the CPUs if they're on different boards?
  4. What would be a real world example of a need to have 64 sockets attached to one operating system vs 32 2 socket servers?
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I'd love to see the Task Manager screenshot of the CPU usage on 256 cores. You wouldn't be able to see anything of any use! (the most I've ever seen is 16 and even that pushes the limit of being able to interpret anything useful) –  Mark Henderson Aug 21 '09 at 0:24
    
Most I have seen is 64 and all that happened is that Task Manager expanded bigger then the screen. We actually had a long chat about it with MVP at the Microsoft Africa Tech Ed last year since a collegue set up this server. –  Diago Aug 21 '09 at 6:12
    
I meant 64 Cores not 64 Sockets! –  Diago Aug 21 '09 at 6:13
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4 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted
  1. HP Superdome. IBM has some hardware which will scale that large as well, don't remember the hardware model though.
  2. Nope.
  3. N/A
  4. SQL Server, Oracle, DB2. That's pretty much it.

The SQLCat team has documented some customers using systems this large. Here is one example and here is another.

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In the IBM world, they are actually in seperate chassis, with 4 sockets per chassis. They support 6-core, with a max of 4 chassis, for a total of 96 cores. The x3950 M2 is the top of the line, you can start with one chassis, and add more if needed. The chassis are linked together with a special cable. This line is due to be revamped using the Intel Nehalem processors probably later this year.

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That's the one I was thinking of. –  mrdenny Aug 21 '09 at 0:44
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RedHat 6 support 4096 CPUs... Windows 2008 is a child compare to that...

how does one set something like that up? think about data warehouse for enterprise level corporations. 64sockets are normal for handling reporting and analyzing on 20 TB of data, all the time...

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Datacenter edition is not available for general purchase. You don't buy datacentre and then choose hardware and how to configure it. If you have strayed into the teritory where Datacentre has become relevant (and this is probably going to be at the very least a $50,000+ computer if not more), you chose specialist (OEM) hardware under the guidance of you manufacturer's representative, and this is only going to be from one of the very large vendors. They will supply\install the Datacenter OS for you including hardware specific drivers and tuning when they come and install the hardware for you in your datacentre. The conclusion is you don't have to worry about Datacenter - when you have eneogh money to buy this kit - someone else will be doing the all configuration and decisions for you :¬)

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Not entirely true. When Datacenter (2000 or 2003) was first released, you are right that you could only get it on per-configured hardware. However, Windows Server 2008 Datacenter was available as a retail SKU for installation on commodity server hardware, mostly because of the favorable licensing terms for running VM's and the (then) sky-high limits on memory and processor/core count. –  longneck Oct 24 '12 at 20:54
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