VMware enhanced for 64-bit CPUs
VMware GSX Server 3.1 includes experimental support for AMD Opterons, although not for guest operating systemsFollow @pvenezia
Historically, VMware has been the top choice for x86 server virtualization. VMware provides an abstraction layer on top of a host OS, permitting multiple virtual server installations (called “guests”) on a single host system. The VMware GSX Server product is a robust server solution, providing multi-user remote console access, health and resource monitoring, and access to more RAM than the Workstation product.
GSX Server 3.1 adds support for Microsoft Longhorn Beta and Solaris x86 Versions 9 and 10. More importantly, it’s VMware’s first release to include nascent 64-bit support, giving it a leg up on its new competition: Microsoft’s recently acquired Virtual PC.
Installing guest operating systems under the new version was as straightforward as ever. The multi-user console support is great and the management tools have come a long way, although the Web-based management interface seemed to have some library linking issues under 64-bit Red Hat Linux. This release also includes VirtualCenter 1.1, a Windows-based application for managing virtual machines across multiple host OS platforms.
Overall, the software installed and ran beautifully on a four-CPU 2.2Ghz Opteron 848 server loaded with the 64-bit version of Red Hat Advanced Server 3.0. Guest operating systems can only use a single processor under GSX Server, however, and you’ll want to disable Hyper-Threading because guests can only make use of a single thread on Hyper-Threading CPUs. What’s more, although the new version can support multiple 32-bit guest operating systems, we’ll have to wait to run 64-bit code as a guest OS.
To be fair, VMware’s official statement is that 64-bit support for GSX Server 3.1 is experimental. As such, although the product is stable enough for production applications, it’s probably best suited for development and QA purposes.
— Paul Venezia