VMware Previews Virtual Server

Hoping to keep the heat on archrival Microsoft, VMware on Wednesday will give developers a glimpse of an early version of its Virtual SMP product that allows a single virtual machine to work with as many as four processors, which in turn can more effectively drive mission-critical applications.

The 4-CPU version of VMware Virtual SMP addresses the anticipation of Intel-based multi-core processors becoming standard late next year, as well as further extending out the advantages of the "virtual infrastructure" to handle data-intensive enterprise workloads, according to company officials.

"We see this announcement as 'feature-proofing' our customers, given the recent shift by Intel and AMD away from clock speed as a way to get more performance out of a chip and towards multi-core processors. If you are [in] the virtualization business as we are, you better start finding ways to run workloads on multiple cores at a time," said Michael Mullany, VMware's vice president in charge of marketing at the company's VMworld 2004 conference in San Diego.

VMWare already has a 2-CPU Virtual SMP capability on the market in its VMware ESX Server, which it delivered last year. The upcoming 4-Way version is not expected to ship until the second half of 2005 when the company expects the first dual-core processors to hit the market. The first such chips should be versions of the Opteron from AMD, and then in either late 2005 or early 2006 from Intel, according to industry analysts.

"Right now VMware has the only product out there with SMP, and now they are laying out a road map for even more SMP. It will be nice for them to be able to virtualize an entire dual processor server once they are two cores per server, and this, effectively, lets them do that. It is important because it allows someone using ESX Server on a dual processor server to grow up to the entire server as application workloads grow," said Gordon Haff, senior analyst at Illuminata.

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News source: InfoWorld

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