AMD-V (AMD virtualization)

AMD-V (AMD virtualization) is a set of hardware extensions for the X86 processor architecture. Advanced Micro Dynamics (AMD) designed the extensions to perform repetitive tasks normally performed by software and improve resource use and virtual machine (VM) performance.

What is AMD-V?

AMD-V (AMD virtualization) is a set of hardware extensions for the X86 processor architecture. Advanced Micro Dynamics (AMD) designed the extensions to perform repetitive tasks normally performed by software and improve resource use and virtual machine (VM) performance.

Early virtualization efforts relied on software emulation to replace hardware functionality. But software emulation can be a slow and inefficient process. Because many virtualization tasks were handled through software, VM behavior and resource control were often poor, resulting in unacceptable VM performance on the server.

Processors lacked the internal microcode to handle intensive virtualization tasks in hardware. Both Intel Corp. and AMD addressed this problem by creating processor extensions that could offload the repetitive and inefficient work from the software. By handling these tasks through processor extensions, traps and emulation of virtualization, tasks through the operating system were essentially eliminated, vastly improving VM performance on the physical server.

AMD Virtualization (AMD-V) technology was first announced in 2004 and added to AMD's Pacifica 64-bit x86 processor designs. By 2006, AMD's Athlon 64 X2 and Athlon 64 FX processors appeared with AMD-V technology, and today, the technology is available on Turion 64 X2, second- and third-generation Opteron, Phenom and Phenom II processors.

See also: Intel-VT

Learn More About IT:
> There's more information on the AMD-V section of the company's website.
> AMD offers an explanation of hardware virtualization.

This was first published in October 2009

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