Friday, January 21, 2005

Virtual PCs on Intel chips

ArsTechnica talks about Intel's "Vanderpool" technology, which will allow multiple OSes to run simultaneously on the same CPU:

Broadly conceived, virtualization refers to the ability to run more than one operating system on a given platform in a secure mode, simultaneously. This could have a number of uses, from allowing for large servers to fulfill many different roles, to providing a means for desktop machines to be serviced remotely without interrupting a user. Additionally, the technology could be used for mutli-boot systems that would run more than one OS at once. In fact, if you're thinking that this sounds a bit like the love child of multi-boot systems with software like VMWare or Virtual PC/Server, you're not too far off the mark. Vanderpool provides for a means to take virtual machine architecture down to the processor level. Such virtual machines run as guests on the physical processor, and have protected access to the system's resources, without "knowing" that it's running in a virtual machine.

Intriguing. On-chip support for virtual machines is a step beyond what is possible with VMWare (commonly used to run Windows apps on the Mac platform, for example). You could conceivably run a mini-ISP off of a Vanderpool-capable server...

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