AMD to offer virtualization for Opteron servers

Sunnyvale (CA) - AMD claims that it will be first to market with a 64-bit server virtualization platform. The company however does not develop its own virtualization technology, but will port the open-source package Xen to its AMD64 technology.

Intel has been talking for quite a while now about its upcoming "Vanderpool" virtualization solution. AMD has long been quiet about its efforts in this space, but apparently will offer a similar technology, code-named Pacifica, before July of this year.

While Intel develops its own technology, AMD will port Xen, witch is considered to be the leading open-source virtualization package, to its Opteron server platform. The company believes XenSource will provide an "enterprise-class" server virtualization software technology that more broadly enables open-source virtualization development and deployment. AMD64 technology-enabled Xen will be designed to allow users to benefit from server virtualization in a secure and flexible environment without having to sacrifice performance or functionality, AMD said Tuesday.

According to the company, Pacifica will deliver "IT resource utilization advantages through server consolidation, legacy migration and increased security." The technology will be available for single-core and dual-core Opteron processors.

As Intel, AMD did not release any details about the virtualization platform, which makes it virtually impossible to compare both approaches. Intel so far said Vanderpool will ship sometime in 2005 for Itanium-based servers and will become available in 2006 for mobile platforms and Xeon-based servers and workstations.

Analysts such as Nathan Brookwood from Insight64 are careful to predict any advantages of a proprietary Vanderpool technology over an existing solution such as Xen - or vice versa. However, Brookwood said AMD may have been working on 64-bit virtualization for quite some time and is likely to have a competitive solution at hand: "After all, they had their 64-bit processors two years earlier out than Intel."