Intel to announce latest processor plans

Intel to announce latest processor plans

Chip giant to introduce major development in virtualisation technology

Next week’s Intel Developer Forum in Shanghai will see the manufacturer outline its plans for the latest desktop PC and server processors for 2008.

Among the highlights will be a multi-processor, six-core chip codenamed Dunnington, that will boost the processing capacity of virtualised environments.

The new chip is significant because it allows the migration of live virtual machines based on different software micro-architectures from one computer to another with no downtime, continuous server availability and no adverse affect on application transactions.

“The instruction sets in different virtualisation software platforms are slightly different,” said Boyd Davis, general manager of Intel’s server platform group marketing at its digital enterprise group.

One feature not yet supported by virtualisation software is input/output (I/O) virtualisation. A standard specification is currently being defined for the technology, which can isolate individual tasks such as graphics processing, anti-virus scanning or network connectivity from other system tasks.

This can boost performance, reliability and security in desktop PCs and replace multiple server network cards used for LAN links.

Intel claims to have the hardware. It says it is simply waiting for suppliers, such as VMware, Microsoft, Red Hat and Novell, to deliver the software to take advantage of the capability.

“The specification is not complete ­ the I/O cards are compliant, but we have yet to see virtual machine monitor software to take advantage of it,” said Davis.
The Dunnington chip is expected to ship later this year.