While much of the VMworld conference focused on VMware's plans to create an operating system capable of managing the entire data center, Intel and AMD are quietly preparing to increase virtualization at both the processor and chip-set level. In the coming months, Intel plans to detail the virtualization capabilities of its Nehalem processors, while AMD is launching a new server platform that will feature the ability to create I/O virtualization.
When it comes to virtualization, whether it's in the data center, up in the
cloud or down on the desktop, Intel and Advanced Micro Devices are preparing to
expand the capabilities of their processors and chip sets to better handle
workloads in virtual environments.
the recent VMworld conference focused on how VMware
would build and sell an
operating system capable of managing all the physical and virtual components in
the data center, representatives from Intel and AMD
were detailing how their processors and platform would handle the emerging
and AMD, which are the world's two leading providers of x86 processors,
have been incorporating technologies into their chips for several years to make
virtualization easier. However, with the increased use of the technology within
the data center and the desktop, chip makers are looking to greatly enhance
In the coming months, customers can expect a number of new details about how
both Intel and AMD will increase the ability
to create I/O virtualization and make better use of memory allocations within
virtual and physical environments.
Jim McGregor, research director at In-Stat, said Intel and AMD
have been making big investments in virtualization technology since switching
to multicore processors. Now, the challenge is the how to deal with the rest of
system as virtualization continues to expand beyond its roots as a server
"The next challenge, which is even harder, is virtualizing the rest of
the system," McGregor said.
"When you partition the rest of the system, you have to [take] account
of dedicated memory, dedicated I/O and dedicated storage," McGregor added.
"What everyone is trying to do is take individual servers that would have
been dedicated to a specific resource or a specific application and try to put
a whole rack of servers into a single server. However, we still have to be able
to partition accordingly to make sure there isn't data corruption and to make
sure there is security between partitions."
What companies need to do now is figure out the best way to partition the
rest of the system. For Intel and AMD, this
means not only improving how their processors can allocate memory, but creating
ways to virtualize the I/O of these systems. By adding these virtualization
features, Intel and AMD are also creating
system-on-a-chip designs that incorporate tasks that normally would have been
performed on software and bringing those tasks down to the hardware level.
In the days leading up to VMworld show earlier in September, Intel made the
first move to show off what it would do with virtualization with its new
processors and chip sets for multiprocessor server systems.
Intel chips, formerly code-named Dunnington and now called the Xeon 7400
included a virtualization technology dubbed Flex Migration, which
is designed to work with VMware's VMotion and allows for virtual machines to
move between three generation of Intel processors and chip sets, including upcoming
chips based on the new "Nehalem" microarchitecture.