by Laurianne McLaughlin

Virtualization Breakthrough: AMD and Red Hat Demo Live Migration of a VM Between AMD, Intel Servers

Nov 06, 20082 mins

Today you can't do a live migration of a virtual machine from an AMD-based physical server to an Intel-based server, or vice versa. Open source technology from Red Hat has helped AMD correct that big management headache, the two companies say.

Even as virtualization management tools have improved steadily this year, enterprises remain stuck with an unpleasant reality about their ability to move virtual machines between physical servers. If you’re doing a live migration of the VM, you can’t move a VM from an AMD-based physical server to an Intel-based one, or vice versa. It’s a big problem. Virtualization giant VMware has had little power to correct the matter wihtout help from the two chip rivals. And Intel, to date, has not shown much interest in changing the situation. But today, AMD has taken an intriguing step, demonstrating with Red Hat the ability to do a live migration of a VM between AMD- and Intel-based physical servers.

For those unfamiliar with the problem, the ability to do a live migration of a VM is important because it means that users running software applications hosted in the VMs will see no blip in service. Moving a VM between physical servers may be necessary to balance a physical server’s workload or do an upgrade, among other reasons.

VMware has long allowed live migration of VMs using its technology; Microsoft has been criticized for not yet delivering this functonality with its rival Hyper-V technology. Microsoft has said live migration is coming in a later version of Hyper-V tools.

In today’s demonstration, AMD moves a live VM from an dual socket Intel Xeon DP Quad Core E5420-based system to one based on AMD’s forthcoming 45nm Quad-Core Opteron processor, using Red Hat open source virtualization software.

AMD also blogged regarding the move and posted a video clip with more details on the demonstration.

“While developing this capability has been a challenge, we are proud to work with Red Hat to demonstrate it is possible,” said Margaret Lewis, AMD’s director, Commercial Solutions and Software Strategy, in a statement. “We are dedicated to working with technology partners, and even our competitors, to help bring solutions to market that address the needs of our industry.”

AMD continues to struggle financially and Red Hat continues to be called a prime takeover candidate for another large firm in the virtualization market. But with this accomplishment, the two make big news in the virtualization community.