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IBM tips virtualization-ready System x server

Posted: 12 Sep 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:computer server? embedded virtualization? USB flash memory?

IBM Corp. took the wraps off a revamped System x Server with embedded virtualization technology and the company's latest chipset for Intel's quad-core Xeon processors.

The System x3950 M2 server, scheduled to ship in Q4, will include X4, the fourth-generation IBM's chipset for x86 servers. In addition, the new system will debut an embedded hypervisor -- a virtualization platform for running multiple OS on a host computer at the same time.

Besides performance enhancements and processing efficiencies, X4 enables better server configurations geared toward virtualization, IBM said. In addition, the System x3950 includes an internal USB interface that connects the server's virtualization software to the chipset. The software is preloaded on a 4Gbyte USB flash memory device.

The System x3950 also offers double the memory slot capacity of the previous version of the system. As a result, the x3950 has four times the amount of memory for handling more virtualization workloads.

The X4 is the fourth generation of the X-Architecture chipset, which IBM introduced back in 1997 and the second to include virtualization capabilities. The latest iteration was built around Intel's soon-to-be-launched "Tigerton" Xeon processing technology, IBM said. The X3, introduced in 2005, also contained virtualization technology.

The use of virtualization is a growing trend within data centers. A key motivation for its use is to run more applications on a single server, making better use of its processing power while also reducing the number of machines. Such efficiency means higher power to performance ratios, and less money spent on cooling more servers.

Besides servers, virtualization vendors have also started targeting the desktop PC. Among the advantages is in PC management. IT administrators, for example, can more easily set up new users or wipe out the virtual desktops of former employees.

While virtualization boosts efficiency and performance in the data center, it also creates new opportunities for hackers and virus writers. Gartner predicts a patch worthy hypervisor vulnerability would be discovered in a mainstream product before the end of 2008.

- Antone Gonsalves

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