AMD to bring virtualization, security to CPUs

By 2006, AMD plans to integrate security and virtualization features into its server processors. In its Presidio project, the company is working with a number of partners to bring security features etched directly onto the processor silicon. AMD's Pacifica initiative will build in hardware features for virtualization, a capability normally found in enterprise-class architectures like UltraSPARC and Power, but only emulated on x86 with software like VMWare.

According to analyst Nathan Brookwood, Microsoft does not care to maintain independent AMD and Intel builds of its software, so if Pacifica/Presidio sound a lot like Intel's Vanderpool/LaGrande, that's probably because they're very much alike. Neither chipmaker commented on ceding control of the x86 architecture to the software giant from Redmond.

Again following Intel's lead, AMD may soon have a place at Dell. CEO Kevin Rollins hinted that there may be room for Opteron in his company's server rotation, but he also noted that AMD cannot produce enough chips to fully supply Dell.

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