Virtual Computer supports next generation X86 processors

Virtual Computer is taking advantage of Intel's next generation microprocessors that enhance both the performance and the security of virtualized environments.
Written by Dan Kusnetzky, Contributor

The folks at Virtual Computer recently announced that they have enhanced their NxTop® desktop virtualization solution to support Intel® Core™ vPro™ processor family, including the Intel® Core™ vPro i3, i5, and i7 processors, as well as all platforms with Intel® Virtualization Technology. This should of great interest to those embarking on a desktop virtualization journey. Creating virtual environments on X86-class systems is technically very complex and challenging.  Virtual Computer, among others, has worked very hard to make it seem simple, easy to use and powerful.

What Virtual Computer has to say

Virtual Computer, the company redefining PC management through virtualization, today announced that its NxTop® desktop virtualization solution is compatible with the previous three generations of Intel® Core™ vPro™ processor family, including the Intel® Core™ vPro i3, i5, and i7 processors, as well as all platforms with Intel® Virtualization Technology.

NxTop combines centralized virtual desktop management with a bare-metal, Xen®-based client hypervisor to simplify common PC management activities such as provisioning, patching, backup, and endpoint security. The NxTop management approach, made possible through Intel® Virtualization Technology, can now be deployed on the previous three generations of Intel Core vPro business computing platforms. IT teams can now take advantage of the Intel® Core vPro™ processor management and security features while retaining backwards compatibility with existing PCs for NxTop management functions.

NxTop uses a PC-based desktop virtualization approach that allows one or more virtual desktops to execute locally on desktop or laptop PCs. This approach avoids the large data center investments, user experience compromises, and mobility challenges that come with many virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) initiatives while improving IT efficiency through centralized, one-to-many desktop management. By offering these capabilities on possibly the industry’s broadest collection of Intel-based PCs, NxTop makes it easy for IT teams to deploy virtual desktops today on existing PCs and gradually layer more advanced management and security features through the addition of newer Intel Core vPro processor-based systems.

Virtual Computer plans to carry this benefit forward to the next generation of corporate PCs by working with Intel to optimize NxTop compatibility with the forthcoming 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ vPro processor family (codenamed Sandy Bridge).

Organizations interested in trying NxTop on Intel Core vPro processor-based PCs can download the software for free at: http://www.virtualcomputer.com/user/register.

Snapshot analysis

When virtual processing software was originally developed to support mainframe applications, it was based upon special instructions built into the mainframe processor, special memory management functions and, in some cases, even special processors that did nothing but copy blocks of data in system memory from one place to another while the main processor was busy doing something else. This created a virtual processing environment that performed very similarly to executing natively on the system processor.  Nearly all mainframe workloads have executed in virtual environments for literally decades.

When midrange machines appeared, most of them followed in the mainframe's footsteps.  They also were largely hosts for virtualize processing. Midrange workloads have also executed in virtual environments for decades.

X86 microprocessors didn't, until fairly recently, didn't integrate virtualization technology into the hardware. So, virtual processing software, such as hypervisors, had to do all of the work that hardware did in the mainframe and midrange machine environments. Rocket scientists at VMware, Citrix, Microsoft, the Xen and KVM communities, had to do really clever things to virtualize environments efficiently.

Virtual Computer is one of the suppliers who have developed hypervisors designed to virtualize client or desktop virtualization. Virtual Computer has also gone to great extents to create a sophisticated management environment allowing organizations to deploy virtual desktops in a sane, easy to install, easy to manage way.

I'm sure that Virtual Computer's customers will enjoy the performance and security enhancements offered by Intel's newest generation of microprocessors.  If your company is considering a virtual desktop solution, Virtual Computer should be on your list.

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