AMD, Red Hat Demo 'Live' VM Migration Across Platforms - InformationWeek

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AMD, Red Hat Demo 'Live' VM Migration Across Platforms

The vendors posted a YouTube video showing the migration of a running virtual machine from an Intel Xeon-based server to one running AMD's quad-core Shanghai processor.

Advanced Micro Devices and Linux distributor Red Hat on Thursday demonstrated technology that enabled the vendors to migrate a running virtual machine from an Intel Xeon-based server to one running AMD's soon to be released quad-core Opteron processor, code-named Shanghai.

The "live migration," which the companies said was done without disrupting the operation of the application running on the VM, was performed between a dual-socket server running Intel Xeon DP Quad Core E5420 processors and a system based on Shanghai, which is set for release this quarter. AMD and Red Hat have posted a video of the feat on YouTube and on AMD's Web site.

The feat is significant because such transfers are nearly impossible in the real world, which means IT departments are forced to run all VMs on one platform. Most companies try to avoid such vendor lock-ins, so the limitation in moving VMs is considered a weakness in virtualization. IT staff move VMs regularly in order to perform certain tasks, such as upgrading or conducting maintenance of a server, balancing the server load, and proactively managing server availability to avoid downtime or lost data.

The migration demo was achieved through a combination of virtualization technology in AMD hardware and Red Hat software. "While developing this capability has been a challenge, we are proud to work with Red Hat to demonstrate it is possible," Margaret Lewis, AMD's director of commercial solutions and software strategy, said in a statement.

AMD said the migration can be done on a Microsoft Windows-based server, as well as a Linux server. Details of the technology were not disclosed, and there was no timetable showing when the capability would be available in products. Lewis said in her blog that the demo was only meant to prove that live migration was possible. "There is still a lot of work to do, but it is not impossible," she said.

Shanghai is AMD's first processor built using advanced manufacturing techniques that shrink the size of a transistor on a processor to 45 nanometers, which means more of the devices can be packed on a chip. Increasing the number of transistors results in a dramatic improvement in power-to-performance ratios. Intel has been shipping 45-nm chips for about a year.

InformationWeek has published an independent analysis on the topic of virtual machines in the enterprise. Download the report here (registration required).

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