AMD Shanghai chips target virtualization performance

With hypervisor overhead reduced, applications run faster

AMD's new Shanghai processors are designed to improve performance of applications running in virtual machines with various features that reduce the amount of work required from a hypervisor.

"The idea is to decrease the overhead associated with a virtualized application, and make it run as near native as possible," says Margaret Lewis, director of AMD's commercial solutions.

Both AMD and Intel began embedding virtualization-friendly features in their chips a few years ago, allowing routine operations to be handled in the hardware and reducing the amount of software code needed from hypervisors such as VMware and Xen.

AMD Thursday launched its latest quad-core Opteron processor, code-named Shanghai. Lewis says virtualization improvements will result in benefits such as applications being able to handle more users or perform more transactions. AMD has fine-tuned its Rapid Virtualization Indexing technology, which reduces virtualization-related performance hits by taking functionality typically performed within software and moving it to the CPU. The goal is "near-real time application performance" that's particularly important for transaction-intensive applications such as Web serving and databases, AMD says.

AMD did some tuning of its world switch, the technology that enables the switching from one guest operating system instance to another, Lewis says. AMD also targeted the translation lookaside buffer (TLB), a CPU cache, with an innovation that lets the hypervisor move from one task to another more quickly.

Typically, a virtualized application's memory has to be flushed each time the hypervisor moves from one virtual machine to another in order to perform various tasks, Lewis explains. AMD enabled the tagging of memory so the entire memory buffer doesn't have to be flushed. Memory can thus be reloaded fast and efficiently when the hypervisor returns to the original virtual machine.

"There are parts of the buffer that don't need to be flushed," Lewis says. "By tagging them, the virtualization software can decide what needs to be flushed and what doesn't."

AMD plans more virtualization-related improvements in future processors. Lewis notes that enterprises are becoming more interested in streaming desktops from servers to clients. "We're starting discussions about how to handle graphics in those environments," she says.

AMD will follow Shanghai with Istanbul, a six-core processor in 2009, followed by the 12-core Magny-Cours in 2010, the IDG News Service reports.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags AMDshanghai

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jon Brodkin

Network World
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

Bitdefender solutions stop attacks before they even begin! Get cybersecurity that 500 MILLION users already have and trust.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?