AMD to Slice Up Server in LinuxWorld Demo

The chip maker says it will demonstrate for the first time publicly how its AMD Virtualization technology can partition a server at the upcoming LinuxWorld show in Boston.

Advanced Micro Devices in April will demonstrate for the first time a new server chip equipped with its AMD Virtualization technology.

The company will demonstrate its forthcoming Rev F processors, which include its AMD Virtualization, formerly known as "Pacifica," at Bostons LinuxWorld, a company representative confirmed to eWEEK. The show starts on April 3.

The technology, which could help companies to more fully utilize their servers by dividing them up to run several sets of operating systems and applications at one time, is one example of AMD adding extras to its chips in an effort to boost performance. Both AMD and its rival Intel have shifted in recent times to focus on platform-level enhancements and power, versus touting chip speed. Virtualization is one of the top enhancements the two will tout for their respective server platforms this year.

AMD officials said in an e-mail that the company has been "previewing" AMD Virtualization along with Novells OpenSUSE 10.0 and XenSources Xen 3.0.2 during Novells BrainShare event in Salt Lake City March 19-24. LinuxWorld will mark the first time it showcases the virtualization technology publicly, according to the e-mail.

The new bits will be present in forthcoming AMD chips, known internally as Rev F, which promise to buff AMD servers with improvements such as an updated on-board memory controller that addresses DDR2 (double data rate 2) memory. They will also use a new socket, dubbed AM2, to connect with a computer motherboard.

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Intel, for its part, has already thrown the switch on its Intel Virtualization Technology on some of its chips. Companies with servers using its "Paxville" Xeon MP processor can activate the capabilities by working with manufacturers Dell, Hewlett-Packard and IBM to gain a system software upgrade.

Intels VT, as the company calls it for short, will also come in its Xeon DP processors such as Dempsey and Woodcrest, which the company demonstrated earlier this month at its spring Developer Forum. The Intel chips will arrive over the next few months, with Dempsey expected in or around May and Woodcrest due in the third quarter.

AMD has said its virtualization-equipped chips will arrive in two phases. The company plans to deliver its Rev F Athlon 64 X2 desktop chips in the second quarter, while its Rev F Opterons will follow in the third quarter.

AMD is expected to deliver a range of different Rev F-based Athlons and Opterons. The Opterons will offer greater performance but fit within the same 95-watt and 68-watt power envelopes as current chips, AMD officials have said.

Despite their intense rivalry, the two chip makers have said their respective virtualization technologies are similar enough so that a software maker could write one application to take advantage of both. Both chip makers intend to extend their virtualization technology to include things such as input/output in the future as well.

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