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VMware Introduces Four-way Virtual SMP

VMware kicked off its inaugural VMworld 2004 conference Wednesday, announcing new virtual symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) of up to four physical processors, a community for technical users and a channel program.

SMP provides fast performance by making multiple chips available to individual processes simultaneously. In the second half of 2005, VMware will offer four-way SMP as an add-on to its ESX Server virtual machine software to help customers handle heavy applications for enterprise resource planning (ERP) or customer relationship management (CRM).

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based division of EMC had previously offered two-way virtual SMP in its ESX Server virtual machine software to let customers run applications requiring several processors, said vice president of marketing Michael Mullany.

"This is important because, with the recent shift by Intel and AMD away from clock speed as a way to get more performance and instead putting multiple processors on a single chip, it means that in the future even today's two-socket server is going to have four processors, and within some period of time eight processors, inside it," Mullany told internetnews.com.

Currently, if a user put virtual SMP on a standard two-CPU server, users could scale a virtual machine from a 1/8 of a CPU to two processors. However, when Intel and AMD take chips to multicore processing, four-way virtual SMP capabilities will be needed to harness the power of the new chips.

Mullany said with four-way processing, virtual SMP enables virtualization software to take advantage of the capabilities of a whole server. The four-way virtual SMP is currently in testing and will be priced at the time of availability.

Fresh off of its third quarter earnings announcement, VMware is riding a wave of success as perhaps the most significant provider of virtualization software that consolidates server workloads by allowing multiple instances of an operating system to run on one server.

VMware recently aired revenues of $61 million in the third quarter, up from $49 million in the previous quarter. The company has parlayed that momentum, which includes 2.5 million users and more than 5,500 enterprise server customers, into launching an online technical user community, VMware Community.

Like similar sites from IBM, Microsoft and others, the new resource center provides lets users interact with each other and get the scoop on VMware products.

The concern, whose virtualization technology is also being used to bolster products by parent company EMC, said it is expanding its Virtual Partner (VIP) Network and creating a new "premier enterprise level" to meet the needs of its more than 1,000 global partners. The company will provide automated software to help partners access up-to-the-minute information.