Major OSes To Be Barcelona-Ready

AMD announced that major x86 operating system vendors are preparing modifications to their OSes in advance of the release of its quad-core Opteron processor, Barcelona, due to ship to OEMs this month and to customers in September.

Microsoft , Novell , Red Hat , Sun and VMware have optimized their operating systems, supporting tools and middleware to take full advantage of the improvements in performance and power management in the new Opterons.

The operating systems supporting Barcelona are: Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and 2008 when it ships, Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES), Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), Sun Solaris 10, and VMware ESX. They will have add-ons for the OS to utilize Barcelona technologies by the end of the year.

“We build our processors so that our processors are compatible with existing software,” Margaret Lewis, director of commercial marketing for AMD, told “You don’t want to disrupt the ecosystem. The next thing is, ‘What optimizations do the OSes need to take advantage of the new processors?'”

There are three areas of Barcelona that AMD  looked at for software optimization, said Lewis. First is performance tuning to get as much performance as possible out of the processor, such as how tasks are scheduled.

Second, support AMD’s PowerNow power optimization technology, which has been enhanced in Barcelona for maximum power savings. Third is support for AMD-V, its virtualization technology, and nested page tables, a feature of AMD’s processors that greatly improves virtualization performance.

“Our design goal is to make it so an application running in a virtual world will run as native as possible. Once again, what the user sees is a more efficient running of a virtual environment,” said Lewis.

AMD also announced at LinuxWorld San Francisco this week the availability of AMD Validated Server platforms certified for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. This means system builders can build and ship systems with SLES and carry the “YES Certified” sticker, so long as they use the endorsed parts.

AMD performed Novell YES Certified testing on barebones platforms from Supermicro Computer, Tyan Computer Corporation and Uniwide Technologies, so systems builders can construct machines from those vendors and be certified to run Novell SLES. In all, 13 different platforms from these vendors have been certified.

Novell will maintain a full list of certified parts so system builders can check to make sure all the parts that go into their system are approved. “One small part that hasn’t been tested can tank your whole system, so we want to do that part for the system builders,” said Ron Myers, divisional manager for AMD’s validated solutions.

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