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The novel ScaleMP vSMP architecture employs commodity x86-based servers with an InfiniBand network to assemble a large shared memory system at an attractive price point. We examine this combined hardware- and software-approach of a DSM system using both system-level kernel benchmarks as well as real-world application codes. We compare this architecture with traditional shared memory machines and elaborate on strategies to tune application codes parallelized with OpenMP on multiple levels. Finally we summarize the necessary conditions which a scalable application has to fulfill in order to profit from the full potential of the ScaleMP approach.