AMD previews Pacifica virtualization technology

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Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) has offered its first peek at "Pacifica," its virtualization technology for use on server and desktop processors, ahead of the April launch of the Pacifica specifications.

The technology is designed to allow multiple operating systems and applications to run in independent partitions on a single processor, turning one compute system into multiple "virtual" systems, AMD said in a statement Wednesday.

Pacifica is not due to be rolled out in the AMD product line until 2006, but it was presented to virtualization ISVs (independent software vendors) and analysts for the first time at the AMD Reviewer's Day in Austin, Texas, on Wednesday.

Both AMD and rival Intel Corp. are aiming to extend the use of virtualization technology from mainframes and high-end servers to x86-based servers, desktops and mobile computers. Intel has said that its virtualization technology, code named "Vanderpool," will begin appearing in desktop processors and in its Itanium server processors some time this year.

Pacifica will be available in both client and server processors in the second half of 2006, AMD said. It will eventually be used in both single-core and dual-core AMD64 processors, it said.

AMD's virtualization technology is designed to work in conjunction with software from Microsoft Corp., VMware Inc. and the open source Xen virtualization software from XenSource Inc. In February, AMD and XenSource announced the integration of Xen into AMD64 technology.

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