AMD releases I/O virtualization spec

— 11:58 AM on February 7, 2006

CPU virtualization tech is getting a new partner in the form of I/O virtualization, and AMD today announced the availability of its specification for I/O virtualization. The press release explains, or attempts to explain, the difference between CPU and I/O virtualization:

AMD's CPU virtualization technology (formerly referred to by the code name "Pacifica") delivers CPU efficiencies to traditional software only-based virtualization approaches. AMD I/O virtualization technology complements and extends these efficiencies by providing mechanisms to support virtualization software in managing, partitioning, and securing I/O devices, which is anticipated to result in improved performance and less implementation complexity in providing I/O in virtual environments.
Sounds like this capability will make hardware abstraction layers and drivers more compatible with virtualization, and done well, it probably should increase I/O performance quite a bit. Off the top of my head, I'm unsure whether this tech is a direct competitor to Intel's I/OAT, and all of the platform talk in Intel's press release is no help.

AMD expects all of its CPUs to support I/O virtualization by the middle of 2006, and it hopes to see core-logic chipsets supporting the tech by the end of '06. The spec itself is supposedly available from

If you're interested in playing more with virtualization tech, you might also be interested to know about the free version of VMWare Server that's just been announced. It's not open-source, but it is free of charge and shouldn't be a bad way to begin playing with running multiple operating systems simultaneously on one system. Of course, I used to run the MacOS as a client to the Amiga OS on my A3000, but I'm just old.

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