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Intel drops 'Vanderpool' handle

Chip virtualisation tech to be called... er... Virtualisation Tech

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IDF Spring 05 Intel's 'multiple systems, one chip' system, previously codenamed 'Vanderpool', will now take on the rather more prosaic moniker, Intel Virtualisation Technology (VT), outgoing CEO Craig Barrett said today.

VT is expected to debut next quarter when Intel launches 'Smithfield', its dual-core Pentium desktop processor, a year ahead of the company's original release schedule.

Smithfield also got its go-to-market name today: it will ship as the Pentium D.

VT allows one processor to run multiple operating systems - or multiple instances of the same OS - simultaneously. It's a technique long used in mainframe systems. Enterprises are generally happy to run whatever OS a particular app happens to require, so they often need to maintain multiple OSes, ideally on the same hardware to save money.

That's not the case with desktop users - dual-booting Linux geeks being the most common exception; so you might think VT has less of a role in desktop usage scenarios than Intel might like us to believe.

Think of users running a Windows-based media server, one on VT-hosted virtual machine, while playing a 3D game in a second Windows instance on a second virtual machine, Frank Spindler, Intel's industrial technology programs director, said yesterday. That way if the game hangs, you don't lose the server functionality.

Maybe. Or you could just run an operating system with decent memory protection, so that the crashing game doesn't bring down the whole system with it.

Whatever. The Pentium D has VT, whether you need it or not, and with launch day approaching, the technology needs a better go-to-market name than Vanderpool. Hence the new tag.

Curiously, Intel staffers did not refer to VT when detailing the PD today. But the company has already stated that PD and VT are shipping in the same timeframe; so it's tempting to conclude that the one will be part of the latter. Intel's VT blurb hints at a close relationship with dual-core architectures, and the Xeon line isn't due to go dual-core until 2006. ®

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