If Intel’s does it, AMD does it. If AMD does it, Intel does it. So in the latest version of “Simon says” to hit the CPU world, AMD has finalised “Pacifica” in response to Intel’s VT (virtualisation technology).
Pacifica is the company’s own virtualisation technology, which means it allows a system to be divided into several virtual subsystems. A user can then use these subsystems to run alternative environments (such as different operating systems) on a single computer and they can be run separately or simultaneously.
Now if this is sounding a little like VMWare (we previewed the release of Workstation 5 here), I am not surprised. Talking in broad strokes, the two are very similar, with WMWare favouring to perform the role with software and AMD looking to do it through hardware.
Naturally enough, the primary benefit of this technology is for developers who need to test software on different platforms to ensure maximum compatibility. That said, it could also be used by consumers who – for example – could run Windows XP and Windows XP 64 on different subsystems meaning they can keep using any programmes/games they find are not yet compatible with the new 64bit OS.
Pacifica will be available for both desktop and server processors in the first half of 2006. Intel has the drop of them here though, as it could announce Pentium 4 VT enabled chips as soon as next month.
One this technology hits, it should lead to some weird and wonderful interesting computer set-ups. Anyone want to try running Windows 3.1 at the same time as the latest Longhorn betas?!