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Bill, Thanks for your question. Yes, because of a technology we introduced a couple years ago called Intel VT (virtualization technology) FlexMigration, you can mix / match different Xeon server technology generations (quad-core and dual-core) into a same virtualization clusters (pools). The intel technology allows for this same compatibity to add Nehalem to the existing Xeon pools (compatible Xeon series included would be 2S xeon 5100/5300/5400 and 4S xeon 7300/7400). While intel provides FlexMigration at the hardware level, you will need virtualization software to support that feature from a validation perspective. This is a question you will have to ask of VMware.
To the best of my knowledge there are no technologies that allow you to mix AMD and Xeon architectures in the same VMware VMmotion cluster/pool.
Thanks, Chris; Your insight helps put the upcoming announcement in the right technology context. I will carry the thread along to my VMware friends and put the question to them about mixing generations of XEON processors in a cluster. I am looking forward to the changes that will come about from the introduction of Nehalem throughout the different families. Bill
One more note, flex migration allows for "live migration" of running applications from one machine to another. With the performance and power advantages of Nehalem, customers are looking to move virtual servers off their AMD hardware. Live migration is not possible, but migration of the VM is much simpler than migrating a traditional physical machine. With nominal down time a system administrator can shut down the vm, move the vm to the new platform and restart the vm. Downtime could be under 1 minute, and allow the application to take advantage of the performance of the new Nehalem architecture.
The combination of flex migration, Nehalem, and the Xeon 7400 (4 socket) family of servers, it really makes sense to standardize on Intel based virtual pools going forward.