At VMworld 2009 in San Francisco, Doug Fisher, Intel’s VP of software and services, talks about experimental work VMware and Intel are collaborating on to reduce overall power consumption inside Nehalem EX.

During Fisher’s presentation, Intel’s Ray Seefeld gave an interesting demonstration of a Nehalem EX box running VMware vSphere. During the first part of the demo, Seefeld injected an error into the machine’s memory that was on the hypervisor’s free list. Using Intel’s Machine Check Architecture (MCA) Recovery feature, the Nehalem EX platform was able to discover the error, kick the error up to vSphere, let vSphere determine that the error occurred in a free area of memory, and then retire the page–all without crashing the system.

In the second part of the demo, Seefeld showed how the Nehalem EX could reduce power consumer. Using Intel Dynamic Power Technology, Seefeld placed half the demo machine’s memory risers into standby mode, reducing the machine’s overall power consumption by about 10 percent–from about 1,000 watts to 900 watts.