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AMD Announces Update to Its I/O Virtualization Technology Specification


Enhancements further reduce bottlenecks for data-intensive applications in virtualized and non-virtualized environments

SUNNYVALE, Calif.-AMD (NYSE: AMD) today announced broad availability of the latest version of its I/O virtualization technology specification, which is enhanced with stronger and more secure input/output connections. Together with AMD Virtualization™ Technology (AMD-V™), the AMD I/O Virtualization Technology Specification revision 1.2 is designed to provide high throughput and scalability to improve overall system efficiency, reliability and security.

This latest specification extends the benefits of AMD’s I/O Memory Management Unit (IOMMU) to provide a secure, scalable, high-performance solution for I/O virtualization in x86-based servers, desktops, and notebook computers. IOMMU technology also improves reliability in non-virtualized environments and is expected to be a necessary component for secure systems of the future.

Demonstrating AMD’s ongoing commitment to collaborative innovation, IOMMU revision 1.2 was developed in close cooperation with hardware and software ecosystem partners who worked as a collective whole to advance the benefits of AMD’s Direct Connect Architecture.

“The IOMMU 1.2 spec is a breakthrough development in furthering our ability to deliver on the promise of virtualization,” said Joe Menard, corporate vice president for AMD. “As multi-core processors become critical for consumer and enterprise applications, IOMMU will provide an essential platform for virtual machines to manage I/O devices in a secure and efficient manner.”

AMD was the first company to develop an open specification between devices and announced broad availability of its I/O virtualization technology in February 2006. AMD also responded to the needs of its partners by advancing the initial technology to support the PCI-SIG IOV standards.

“Our customers and partners directly benefit by Microsoft’s close collaboration with industry partners like AMD to develop specifications focused on driving improved performance and reliability for servers and clients alike,” said Mike Neil, general manager of virtualization strategy at Microsoft Corp. “Microsoft is working closely with AMD to help open the way for a new class of innovation to better manage and utilize devices across the Windows platform. AMD’s Virtualization Technology with AMD I/O Virtualization Technology provides the foundation we need to build our future virtualization platforms.”

IOMMU revision 1.2 offers the following enhancements designed to handle the systems from complex datacenters to mobile laptops

* Enhanced security and system reliability – adds precise device access control to protect against malicious or errant device DMA
* Enhanced virtualization capabilities – improves performance and scalability by enabling direct device access by applications reducing overhead in guest and device paths
* Open Standards - designed to conform to PCI-SIG IOV and ATS standards
* Interrupt remapping – enables central management of interrupts in a virtualized system
* ACPI tables – provides information from platform firmware to system software of key I/O topology information
* Enhanced error recovery – provides information for efficient detection and recovery from page faults and errors

The IOMMU 1.2 specification is designed to be used by hypervisors and operating systems in both virtualized and non-virtualized environments, and is useful for server consolidation, protecting operating system integrity, and secure initialization.

As part of its ongoing efforts to actively collaborate with hardware and software developers, AMD’s I/O specification is also an aspect of AMD’s “Torrenza” initiative to co-develop accelerated computing processes. IOMMU 1.2 is the basis for AMD’s Tightly Coupled Accelerators, which will allow third-party chipsets to perform specific functions while off-loading general computing functions managed efficiently by the AMD Opteron™ processor. Through collaboration with partners such as Broadcom, HP, Microsoft and NVIDIA, IOMMU 1.2 highlights AMD’s strong commitment to open partner development.


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