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VMware to Support 4-Way Virtual SMP

VMware plans to expand its virtual SMP technology from the current two-processor support to four-processor support by the second half of 2005. By that time the decision should be substantially more relevant as dual-core processors come onto the market.

VMware made the announcement on Wednesday at its VMworld 2004 conference in San Diego. The company, owned by storage giant EMC, makes two main server virtualization solutions -- ESX Server and GSX Server. The 4-way VMware Virtual SMP will be available as an add-on to VMware eSX Server.

VMware virtualization software allows an organization to slice up a server to allow several operating systems to run on the system at once. With the exception of the host operating system, which VMware uses to manage the resources, each virtual machine is blind to the others on the physical machine.

In 2003, VMware for the first time allowed a virtual machine to span two physical processors, greatly expanding the workload capability of individual virtual machines. The functionality is not yet matched in Microsoft's competing Virtual Server 2005 product.

VMware argues that expanding virtual machine limits to four processors will allow the platform to be considered for some of the most resource-intensive applications that x86-based servers are currently used for.

The four-way support would also give VMware customers greater flexibility in assigning the dual-core x86 processors, basically two processors on a single chip, that AMD plans to deliver in 2005 and Intel plans to ship in early 2006.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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