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MazeGen



Joined: 06 Oct 2003
Posts: 977
Location: Czechoslovakia
MazeGen
I have just downloaded the latest Intel Developer's Mauals, revision 017, dated September 2005.
I'm surprised there are no VXM instructions (Virtualization Technology). My latest Virtualization Technology Specification, revision 002, is dated April 2005.
Does it mean that VXM instruction set is a kind of side issue or what?
Note: I know nothing about VXM, I'm just curious why is it not present in the manuals.
Post 29 Sep 2005, 16:52
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HyperVista



Joined: 18 Apr 2005
Posts: 691
Location: Virginia, USA
HyperVista
I think this documennt ftp://download.intel.com/technology/computing/vptech/C97063-002.pdf suppliments the developer manulas for virtualization technology.

- Hypevista
Post 29 Sep 2005, 18:04
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MazeGen



Joined: 06 Oct 2003
Posts: 977
Location: Czechoslovakia
MazeGen
Yeah, that's the one what I was talking about.

All new features (Prescott, 64-bit extension) were always first released as stand-alone documents and later incorporated into the Developer's Manuals. I just wonder why VXM is an exception, why it stays outside.
Post 29 Sep 2005, 18:20
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HyperVista



Joined: 18 Apr 2005
Posts: 691
Location: Virginia, USA
HyperVista
Ahh... I see what you mean. Good point. Not sure why it's kept separate. I'm meeting with some of their developer community outreach folks next week. I'll ask them about this.
Post 29 Sep 2005, 18:30
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MazeGen



Joined: 06 Oct 2003
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Location: Czechoslovakia
MazeGen
I'm looking forward to your reply Smile
Post 29 Sep 2005, 19:40
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HyperVista



Joined: 18 Apr 2005
Posts: 691
Location: Virginia, USA
HyperVista
@MazeGen - the person I spoke with at Intel wasn't sure why the VT-x instruction extensions were not included in the latest release of the IA-32 Developer's Manual. He did stress, however, that it does not, in any way, indicate a lack of support for VT. In fact, VT was quite prominent at the recent Intel Developer's Forum in San Francisco. In fact, CEO Intel recently cited Virtualization as the "next big thing" to be included in silicon (meaning the VT chips - Vanderpool and LaGrande).

I suspect that since the VT chips are still in beta (late beta), the publishers of the IA-32 Developer's Manuals want to wait until the developer community has some "stick time" on those chips and with the ISA extensions before committing them to the IA-32 Developer's Manual.

Intel is sending me a beta version of their VT development platform to work with for awhile. I'll let you know how it goes.

Fyi, another Intel pushed technology we should keep our eyes on, IMHO, is EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface). It provides a ton of pre-OS functionality and a common interface for drivers.

- Hypervista
Post 04 Oct 2005, 16:17
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MazeGen



Joined: 06 Oct 2003
Posts: 977
Location: Czechoslovakia
MazeGen
Thanks for these interesting informations from the source, Hypervista!
Didn't know VT chips are still in beta. That could be the reason.
Post 04 Oct 2005, 17:27
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vid
Verbosity in development


Joined: 05 Sep 2003
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vid
wow, what are you talking about? Smile
Post 04 Oct 2005, 17:42
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HyperVista



Joined: 18 Apr 2005
Posts: 691
Location: Virginia, USA
HyperVista
Hi Vid - I've read many of your posts since joining this forum and have learned a lot from reading them.

Intel and AMD are coming out later this year with new processors that support virtualization in silicon. Intel calls their processors VT (for Virtual Technology, formerly known as Vanderpool) and AMD calls theirs Pacifica. They extend the current IA-32 ISA in important ways. You can find some information (mostly marketing information) at the following link: (Please note I've used tinyurl.com, which shortens and preserves links): http://tinyurl.com/84kfv

Intel has published the VT extensions to the IA-32 ISA (VT-x), which can be found at:http://tinyurl.com/cvyke

Currently, there are a number of privileged or sensitive instructions that can not be virtualized because they do not generate a trap in user mode (many commercially successful virtual machine software, such as VMWare and VirtualPC run the virtual OSes in user mode). For example, POPF doesn't generate a trap in user mode. This forces the virtualizing software to do binary translation (big performance hit) of such instructions.

The VT processors from Intel and the Pacifica processors from AMD handle this problem in silicon, enabling virtual machines, or OSes, to run in a second Ring 0, speeding up performance of virtual machines by orders of magnitude. Naturally, these new features require an extenstion to the instruction set, which are detailed in the VT-x link provided above.

Virtualization has been around for a very long time, but fell from favor in the PC business over the last decades and mostly used in large enterprises and server farms. With the drop in prices of desktop PCs and the increase in capabilities, virtualization has come back into favor, in fact, it's a pretty hot topic these days.

VT and Pacifica will make virtualization accessible to the average home PC user. There are many benefits to virtualization (besides code development cycles and testing), which you can read about at the links provided. Once these processors hit the mainstream (sometime next year), it will bring the benefits of virtualization to the average user.

Microsoft had intended to include virtualization support in Vista (formerly known as Longhorn), but are putting off that support until 2007. Meanwhile, VMWare, XEN, and others will be providing virtualization support for these new chips.

For me, virtualization is a very interesting technology area to follow.
Post 04 Oct 2005, 22:15
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vid
Verbosity in development


Joined: 05 Sep 2003
Posts: 7105
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vid
yup, very interesting, especially for us. thanks for info
Post 04 Oct 2005, 22:19
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