Intel, VMware Sign Virtualization Pact


Intel will add hardware support for VMware
virtualization software in its forthcoming Vanderpool chip line.

Vanderpool
consists of hardware enhancements to server and desktop processors that make
virtualization work much better for customers. Virtualization helps customers consolidate resources by running multiple instances of an operating system or application on one physical machine.


Brian Byun, vice president of alliances at VMware, said VMware expects to
support the Vanderpool architecture when it appears in chips for desktops
this year, and processors for servers and laptops in 2006. VMware’s GSX and
ESX software products will also be more optimized for 64-bit Intel systems.


Pat Gelsinger, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s digital
enterprise group, will demonstrate how VMware works on machines with
Vanderpool prototypes at the Spring 2005 Intel Developer Forum this week.
The idea is to give users a taste of what’s in store from the partners.


“We want to make virtualization as broadly deployed and accessible to the
enterprise as possible,” said Byun.


Charles King, a Pund-IT Research analyst, said the partnership will also help
both companies head off competition.


“It’s an indication of how seriously they take the inevitability of
other players entering the commercial virtualization space,” King said. “By
putting up a united front, Intel and VMWare are likely hoping to prevent
erosion of their share of the market.


Byun wouldn’t confirm whether or not VMware has a similar support plan in
store with Intel rival AMD, other than to say the public “can expect good
things out of that relationship, as well.”


Intel and VMware have been working together quietly behind the scenes for
years, Byun said. But until this point, the two companies’ only
collaboration as been on virtualization marketing for how their products can
help people partition their desktops.


Intel’s pledge to improve the way its chips handle VMware virtualization
software should endear both companies to the systems vendors they sell to,
including IBM, Dell and HP. Those vendors aim to make servers that find
better ways to utilize capacity and performance, making virtualization a hot
item.

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