Intel last week said that besides multi-core chips as well as some other enhancements of the future building-blocks for servers, the company will include “virtualization” technique called Silvervale into its future Xeon and Itanium microprocessors.
According to the latest official vibe from Intel, there are two things Intel plans to bring across the market of chips it serves: parallelism and virtualization. Additional capabilities added into desktop, laptop and server processors will indisputably bring enhanced usage models into the market of computers.
In 2005 and beyond Intel plans to roll-out dual-core processors with 64-bit capability, Vanderpool, LaGrande, Enhanced SpeedStep and probably some other enhancements into the desktop field. Vanderpool is a technology that splits personal computer into several virtual parts that work independently and use the same resources of the PC, LaGrande – a universal security feature that protects confidential information on the PC.
Parallelism and virtualization will also be available in servers and notebook PCs, however, their implementations will differ from what the desktops are expected to see. Intel calls a version of Vanderpool for servers as Silvervale, underlining the difference between approaches.
Servers that serve mission-critical applications need the capabilities typical PCs do not require, such as hot-plug options as well as ability to change memory modules or even microprocessors on the fly, without shutting down the server. While the majority Xeon-based platforms hardly feature all these features at once, in the light of the fact that at some point Xeon and Itanium platforms will be compatible on the socket level, Intel needs to enable the capabilities across the lineup of technologies that will serve the next-generation servers.
Parallelism brought by dual-core or multi-core processors typically seriously improves computing performance of servers, therefore, the industry is likely to praise Intel for the innovation at relatively cost-effective price-point. Currently only IBM and Sun offer dual-core chips in their high-end servers. Virtualization is also something that server platforms may need, though, it is not clear whether the technology is truly required on the market of massively sold web-servers.
Intel remains tight-lipped over the peculiarities of the Silvervale technology.