Live Migration Between AMD and Intel

Playing catch-up, and some shameless self-promotion: if you didn’t catch Bridget Botelho’s article on live VM migration between Intel and AMD, you should. Plus, she quoted me quite a bit. Cool!

Because AMD was late to release its quad-core processor, Barcelona, Intel has dominated the hardware market with their Xeon quad-core CPUs. “As such, AMD basically locked themselves out of the virtualization market, because there wasn’t any cross-compatibility, and everybody who built a virtual environment did so with Intel CPUs,” Plankers said.

I’ve never been a big fan of AMD hardware because every time I try using it I’ve been bitten by some problem. Large page table support was hosed on the Athlons I had, making Linux installs hard. I had weird driver issues on a desktop I built a few years ago. And there’s the broken caches on Barcelona. The devil is always in the details, and AMD doesn’t seem to sweat the details.

On the other hand, AMD is very innovative. They find their way out of marketing and technical problems pretty well, such as how to get themselves back in the game when they’re locked out. They find a lot of ways to keep Intel honest, force pricing down, and be a better value. If they’d just mind the details once in a while and do some better testing they could use their innovations to push the technology forward (like they did with their 64-bit instruction set), rather than just trying to catch up with Intel all the time.