Intels Gelsinger Talks Shop on Virtualization, Quad-Core

Intel exec Pat Gelsinger reveals specifics on the company's plan to provide more powerful and energy-efficient chips.

SAN FRANCISCO—As Intel prepares to roll out the next generations of processors based on its new Core Architecture, officials are commenting on what the company is doing to enhance such areas as hardware-level virtualization and quad-core chips.

Speaking here at the Intel Developer Forum on March 7, Pat Gelsinger, senior vice president and general manager of Intels Digital Enterprise Group, demonstrated both server and desktop systems running early versions of the companys quad-core processors, which are due next year.

In addition, Gelsinger outlined new features that will start appearing over the next year or so in Intel chips, including I/O virtualization capabilities within its Intel Virtualization Technology.

Intel, of Santa Clara, Calif., has begun putting its hardware-level virtualization technology onto its processors, and will follow later with its Intel VT-d for interconnects.

Gelsinger announced on March 7 that Intel has released the specifications for the technology.

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The moves are part of Intels overall push to bring better performing, and more energy-efficient, processors to the market, and do so by combining technologies and features that surround the chips.

The moves are also part of Intels decision to address issues that rival Advanced Micro Devices has addressed through its processor architecture.

"Today, the IT manager is under pressure," Gelsinger said. "Theyre being asked to do a better job of managing assets and capacity in an environment where 80 percent of their IT budget is spent on keeping the resources they have running, and where the top two costs in that budget are people and power."

Gelsinger outlined technology that Intel is working on to address those demands, including a focus on virtualization, which entails the move to expand the reach to the I/O. Intels VT-d will enable users to assign I/O to virtual machines, giving them greater flexibility in how they deploy it, he said.

Gelsinger and Diane Greene, president of virtualization software vendor VMware, also announced a tighter relationship between the two companies that includes not only consulting on technology, but also joint marketing and sales efforts. VMware products also will support VT-d in 2007, said Greene, when joining Gelsinger onstage.

"Our customers … love virtualization, and anything we do to make virtualization more enhanced makes it all the better for them," Greene said.

Next Page: Virtualization takes center stage.