It wasn't long ago that many pundits were predicting rough times for AMD, thanks in part to production headaches with early Quad-Core Opteron processors and bloated manufacturing operations. Some critics claimed that AMD was on the verge of becoming an also-ran in the processor market, with Intel finally driving its rival out of the industry. SQL Server Magazine named Intel's Quad-Core Xeon processor 5400 its Product of the Year, while AMD didn't rate a mention. Even AMD execs admitted that they fumbled their early Quad-Core chip efforts. Was AMD really on the express lane to obscurity?

      The wonderful thing about the IT technology industry is that you can say the same thing about it that we Colorado residents say about the weather: "Don't like it? Just wait five minutes and you'll get something else." Companies are constantly surging ahead of competitors when new products hit the market—it's like playing a perpetual game of high-tech leapfrog. Now AMD seems to be on the upswing and, more important, seems to be getting its financial house in order.

      On the first front, AMD claimed earlier this week that an HP ProLiant DL585 G5 equipped with four Quad-Core AMD Opteron processors managed to land at the top of VMware's 16-core VMmark benchmark. The news has helped brighten AMD's outlook among investors and analysts, with The Wall Street Journal quoting an analyst who said that AMD has seen "increasing yields and shipments on triple- and quad-core products" and was seeing "a small bit of momentum shifts back from Intel."

      In a statement announcing the VMmark benchmark news, AMD's General Manager of the Server and Workstation Business, Patrick Patla, touted AMD's track record with virtualization. "AMD's latest benchmark result underscores the fact that Quad-Core AMD Opteron processors are more than just four cores and provide innovations such as AMD Virtualization with Rapid Virtualization Indexing to help deliver an ideal platform for addressing real-world data center needs," Patla said.

      AMD's ATI Technologies subsidiary has also been outproducing graphic-chip competitor NVIDIA lately, and Broadcom's recent acquisition of AMD's digital TV technology business has provided a $192.8 million dollar cash infusion to the struggling chipmaker.

      Like Intel, AMD's long-term strategy involves moving toward a "many-core" future in which multiple cores on a single processor becomes the norm. Intel recently announced new development tools that help programmers take advantage of the parallel-processing features that multicore chips can provide, a move that AMD will likely follow in the near future. It's good to see the Intel vs. AMD conflict approaching parity again, as a market dominated by a single vendor is bad news for everyone. (Except the company in the monopoly position, of course.)

 

Microsoft Hyper-V = Kung-Fu Panda?

Virtualization Review columnist Chris Wolf has written a great article that summarizes his view of the current strengths and weaknesses of Hyper-V. Wolf argues that Hyper-V is much like Po, the chubby, sloppy, couch potato-esque protagonist of the hit summer movie Kung-Fu Panda. It's a great read, and you can see for yourself whether Wolf thinks that Hyper-V can lose the pounds, drop the egg rolls, and get in fighting shape to finally compete with VMware and ESX Server. You can read the entire article here.

 

 

Using Hyper-V? Tell Us What You Think!

Microsoft Hyper-V has finally arrived, and it promises to heat up the rapidly growing virtualization market. Are you currently using Hyper-V in your work environment, or are you planning to deploy it soon? We’d like to hear about your experiences, so please send your Hyper-V success stories or tales of woe to Jeff James. Be sure to put “Hyper-V Feedback” in your subject line so we can spot your feedback quickly.

 

 

Virtualization News

by Jeff James

 

Virtualization Congress Comes to London

virtualization.info is sponsoring the first independent Virtualization Congress at the ExCel Conference Centre in London October 14-16. Dozens of vendors and exhibitors will be displaying their wares at the event, and a full schedule of speakers and technical presenters will provide attendees with information about how to leverage their virtualization investments. Seamus Quinn, editor of the Windows IT Pro EMEA newsletter, has written an article about the event here.

 

Citrix Unveils XenApp 5

Citrix Systems has announced the release of Citrix XenApp 5, the latest version of its application virtualization product. Previously known as Citrix Presentation Server, XenApp 5 is the latest upgrade to the Citrix Delivery Center product family, which includes XenDesktop, XenServer, and XenApp 5. According to Bill Hartwick, senior director of product marketing for Citrix's application virtualization group, XenApp 5 supports Windows Server 2003 but will also provide for an easy migration to Windows Server 2008. (XenApp 4.5 and earlier versions of XenApp and Citrix Presentation Server are not compatible with Server 2008.)

      According to Hartwick, the new version of XenApp features improved performance monitoring, a streamlined interface, and much faster application start-up times than users experience with XenApp 4.5. A preferential load-balancing feature also gives administrators fine-grained control over application workload prioritization, which improves overall performance and responsiveness. XenApp 5 will be available September 10, and suggested retail pricing (per concurrent user) is $350 for the Advanced Edition, $450 for the Enterprise Edition, and $600 for the Platinum Edition. For more information on XenApp, visit www.citrix.com/xenapp.

 

iStor Ships New Management Application

Storage vendor iStor Networks announced that it has released integraSuite/MC Management Center, a management application that lets administrators manage their iStor products from a single management console. According to iStor, use of the integraSuite/MC Management Center eliminates the need to manage RAID group and LUN configurations individually and presents available storage as a generic pool that can be configured into custom volumes. "The integraSuite Management Center was developed using extensive user feedback with the goal of minimizing the time users spend allocating and managing their storage while increasing their storage efficiency," said Robert Friend, iStor Networks director of product marketing. “iStor’s unique virtualized storage functionality further enhances the customer experience with usability features not available with traditional architectures." For more information about iStor, go to www.istor.com.

 

 

Virtualization Tips & Tricks:

Microsoft Announces Changes in Exchange Virtualization Support Policy

by Paul Robichaux

 

Earlier this year, I wrote a three-part series of columns about Exchange Server virtualization, starting with "Exchange Server Virtualization: Microsoft's Support." In the second part, "Exchange Server Virtualization: Hyper-V Possibilities," I talked about what I expected Microsoft to support for Exchange 2007 virtualization with Windows Server 2008’s Hyper-V technology—once the company got around to giving us any official information on the matter. On August 19, Microsoft finally ended the waiting and announced its support policies for running virtual Exchange 2007 SP1.

      So now we know Microsoft officially supports Exchange Server 2007 SP1 running under Hyper-V. The support statement, "Microsoft Support Policies and Recommendations for Exchange Servers in Hardware Virtualization Environments," features a wealth of interesting information. First off, Exchange 2007 SP1 is supported for virtualization only when running on a virtualized instance of Server 2008; because Virtual Server 2005 doesn’t (and won’t) support 64-bit guest virtual machines (VMs), Exchange 2007 is only officially supported on Hyper-V.

 

Read the rest of this article here.

 

 

In the next issue of Virtualization UPDATE (9/10/08)

 

       Commentary: A VMworld 2008 Survival Guide

       New virtualization product announcements from VMworld 2008

       …and more virtualization commentary, news, tips, and tricks

 

Not a subscriber? Click \[here\] to subscribe to the Virtualization UPDATE newsletter.