Intel: Virtualization For Desktops Now On Fast Track


The company had previously said it would make Vanderpool available on 64-bit Itanium processors this year.

In a statement, Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel said it has been working with leading software vendors to solicit input and speed delivery of virtualization. The technology allows designers to create "virtual partitions" inside a system. That means the software on one portion of a managed PC or server could be upgraded, or management or maintenance functions could be undertaken, without halting or taking over the entire system.

Intel said Vanderpool could also enable more efficient server consolidation scenarios. Intel said it plans to provide more details on the virtualization rollout at its Intel Developer Forum March 1"3 in San Francisco.

Phillip Hice, director of technical services at solution provider Computer Configuration Services, Irvine, Calif., said the success of Intel's virtualization offering will depend on its flexibility. Hardware virtualization on the server, for example, could in theory run faster than software virtualization such as that offered by VMware. However, with hardware, the scenarios have been more limited, he said.

Sponsored post

"For IBM Power5 processors, you can split them into multiple hardware virtual machines. But each represents the hardware in the box," Hice said. "If the box runs AIX revision 5.3, each virtual machine can only run 5.3 or 5.2, but not AIX 5.1. So with physical partitions, you are stuck with what the hardware is."

Either way, accelerating the Vanderpool release will give solution providers an opportunity to test the technology. "There's a need for people to start playing with it and understanding and developing toward it, so as it becomes important, they're actually ready to use it," said Keith Josephson, CTO of ION Computer Systems, a Hauppauge, N.Y.-based system builder. "With multicore [processors] coming everywhere, you're going to have more and more resources everywhere that you can divide up."

Advanced Micro Devices, Sunnyvale, Calif., is also targeting an initial release of virtualization technology as early as this year. AMD executives have said the company plans to incorporate advanced support for virtualization and related security in its chips in 2005 or 2006.