AMD inks deal with XenSource for virtualisation package

As part of its campaign to land those big company accounts, AMD has announced that it has signed a deal with XenSource, to port Xen, the leading open-source virtualisation software to AMD64 range. AMD says that it expect that a version of the Xen will be available during the first half of this year.

Virtualisation has become a hot topic in IT departments over the past couple of years. Whilst PCs are rapidly falling into the commodity price bracket, servers that require greater memory, processing power and disks are still relatively expensive. Furthermore, IT managers have realised that whilst servers have been proliferating throughout the corporation, often they are lying idle.

The idea of virtualisation is that through the consolidation of a number of processes such as print or web serving on a single machine as ‘virtual servers’ with their own protected area, operating system and applications. It not only cuts costs but also makes the whole network tidier and less expensive to manage.

Several tier one vendors such as IBM and Hewlett Packard are already offering ‘virtualisation’ solutions by utilising their experience of mainframe and minicomputers. However, by signing the deal with XenSource, AMD is now looking to open the technology to a customer base outside those of the blue chip vendors.

Certainly, AMD believes it has the right chip for virtualisation. The current range of 64-bit chips with built in ‘Direct Connect’ architecture offering built in memory and I/O interfaces and its commitment to delivering dual core designs later this year has made company spokespeople bullish about virtualisation being a natural fit with the AMD range.

Looking further ahead, AMD has previously announced the ‘Pacifica’ programme which is said to be developing virtualisation at the processor level for the next generation of AMD64 chips. However, the company has remained tight lipped as to whether this is slated only for multicore processors or whether it will appear in single core designs.

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