In an interview, Lewis said outside of ensuring that the AMD processor had AMD-V capabilities, the company's engineers did not have to change the basic CPU architecture to make the live migration work. She said as long as the Intel and AMD processors had similar characteristics, such as both chips being 64-bit and using basic x86 architecture, then virtual machines could move between the physical servers.
"They [Red Hat] have taken standard 'Barcelona' and standard Shanghai and done this migration with us without us having to add any special hardware capabilities to it," Lewis said. "Now that we have started to look down the path of how this could be done, the software vendors might come back and ask us to add some sort of hardware capabilities that might make this easier or faster or better."
Tim Mueting, manager of Virtualization Solutions for AMD, explained that in order to make the migration work, AMD provided Red Hat with a CPUID, which allows the software to identify what processor it is using and to see what features, such as the instruction set, each processor uses. As long as the Intel and AMD processors have similar features, the live migration seems to work.
In the demonstration, several white-box servers are set up. One holds the Intel chip, while the other two support the AMD processors. The servers are running different operating systems, including Red Hat Enterprise Linux and several versions of Microsoft Windows. A desktop PC shows a video playing while the application is moved live across the different physical systems.
While AMD talked about the hardware aspects of the demonstration, Red Hat did not offer any specifics about whether it wrote new code to support live migration or adjusted the software in another way. Red Hat also did not mention whether it was using the KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) hypervisor or another piece of underlying software to create the virtual environments.
The demonstration doesn't mean that this type of live migration will work on all systems or work with different types of Intel and AMD processors. It should also be noted that VMware, the world's top virtualization vendor, was not involved in the demonstration and did not announce a similar plan that would allow for these types of live migrations across heterogeneous environments.