Tech Line

Hardware Virtualization Hesitation

Here’s where to look for hardware that includes embedded virtualization technology.

Chris, we are looking at purchasing a few hundred workstations and at least 10 new servers next year. I would like to purchase hardware that will support embedded virtualization to give us some flexibility going forward. While I can find plenty of information online on AMD and Intel virtualization, getting specific information on which platforms support virtualization has been a bit of a challenge. Can you help?
--Shawn

With hundreds of available processor and platform choices out there, you are one of many who have found requisitioning virtualization-enabled hardware to be a challenge. Both AMD and Intel offer Virtualization Technology (VT) with select processors. AMD's virtualization technology had been code-named "Pacifica."

Intel provides two identifiers for its virtualization technology: VT-i and VT-x. VT-i is included in its Itanium 2 processors and VT-x is available in the Intel Xeon family of processors. For example, the entry-level 64-bit Xeon Dual Core 3000 Sequence family of processors may be a viable choice. Or you could look at the more popular 5000 Sequence family.

With AMD, currently its workstation-class Athlon 64 X2 processors and server-class Opteron processors include virtualization technology. Naturally, virtualization technology is only useful when an application is taking advantage of it. To see the virtualization applications that are compatible with AMD 64 embedded virtualization, take a look at AMD's Virtualization Solutions Guide.

For Intel VT-enabled systems, you can read about compatibility with specific virtualization products by following these links:

Some hardware vendors are also aiding in making VT-enabled purchases. For example, a search at NewEgg.com on virtualization (filtered by processor) can allow you to see which processors sold by NewEgg.com include virtualization technology. To see an example, click here.

Hopefully, this information will help you to purchase hardware that will more efficiently run today’s current virtualization applications as well as new virtualization solutions that will emerge over the next few years.

Since Thanksgiving is just a couple of days away, I would like to take this time to thank all of you for your excellent questions that you have provided over the past year. Also, thank you for the great feedback that many of you leave in the comments portion for the Tech Line column. Your additional comments have certainly added much more value to my input and I truly appreciate it. Happy Turkey Day everyone!

About the Author

Chris Wolf is a Microsoft MVP for Windows --Virtual Machine and is a MCSE, MCT, and CCNA. He's a Senior Analyst for Burton Group who specializes in the areas of virtualization solutions, high availability, storage and enterprise management. Chris is the author of Virtualization: From the Desktop to the Enterprise (Apress), Troubleshooting Microsoft Technologies (Addison Wesley), and a contributor to the Windows Server 2003 Deployment Kit (Microsoft Press).learningstore-20/">Troubleshooting Microsoft Technologies (Addison Wesley) and a contributor to the Windows Server 2003 Deployment Kit (Microsoft Press).

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