Intel 7300 sparks ‘virtual server’ surge

Yesterday’s unveiling of Intel’s Quad-Core Xeon 7300 series, chips formally codenamed Canefield and Tigerton, sparked a slew of announcements from server makers touting “ready for virtualisation machines” based on the new parts.

Intel is aiming the 7300s at scalable, high-density data centres environments that are becoming increasingly virtualised, and it has dubbed the 7300 as “built for virtualisation and consolidation.”

To support this claim Intel cites the 7300 family’s support for Intel VT (virtualisation technology) including the VT FlexMigration virtual machine portability technology, a doubling of performance compared to previous Quad-Core Xeons, a fourfold increase in memory support, and a lower power (50 Watt) option that makes the 7300 suitable for densely packed blade chassis deployment.

Major server manufacturers, who have seen good recent demand for larger Intel-based specifications driven by the growth in virtualisation and consolidation projects, have wasted no time picking up on Intel’s “built for ….” theme, including Dell, Egenera, Fujitsu-Siemens, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Sun.

IBM chose to mark Intel’s 7300 announcement with a preview of its next generation Intel-based X4 chipset technology that will be built around the 7300 series when it comes to market in the fourth quarter in as the System x3950 M2. IBM calls its new server “virtualisation-ready”, and plans to ship it with virtualisation “embedded” in flash memory at the factory.

IBM hasn’t mentioned where this virtualisation software will come from. However, in the week before VMware’s annual jamboree opens in San Francisco, speculation is already rife that Dell will choose to unveil its own long-rumoured ‘Veso’ virtualisation-ready server at VMworld 2007. Veso is expected to ship with a stripped-down version of the VMware ESX server already on-board, but it now appears that Dell might not be the only company preparing to deliver out-of-the-box virtualisation capabilities.


Related Topics