VMware announces support for 64bit computing

After yesterday CRN article now VMware officially announces:

VMware, Inc., the global leader in virtual infrastructure software for x86-based systems, today announced support for 64-bit extended x86 platforms, including AMD64 and the Intel Extended Memory 64 Technology (Intel EM64T). VMware software will support systems with terabytes of physical and virtual memory, enabling the virtualization of the next-generation memory-intensive applications such as data-mining and managing large databases.

“Just as the 64-bit extended platforms allow users to mix 32-bit and 64-bit applications running under a 64-bit OS, VMware’s support for 64-bit extensions will allow users to mix 32-bit and 64-bit OS environments within the same system,” observed Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64. “Workloads that don’t benefit from 64-bit extensions can be moved intact to 32/64-bit platforms without any changes whatsoever. VMware software even allows legacy 16-bit applications and operating environments to run on 64-bit platforms. VMware’s technology makes it easier for customers to consolidate existing 32-bit server workloads on the latest 64-bit x86 platforms.”

With the introduction of virtualization for AMD64 and Intel EM64T, VMware once again extends virtualization capabilities for industry-standard platforms. Earlier innovations by VMware include VMware Virtual SMP, the only industry-standard multi-processor virtual machine; VMware VMotion, groundbreaking general-purpose, live virtual machine migration technology; VMware ESX Server, the only microkernel-based platform for industry-standard servers specifically optimized for virtualization; and VMware Workstation and VMware GSX Server, the original breakthrough VMware products.

“By bringing virtualization to 64-bit extended platforms, VMware protects investments in operating system and applications software, as customers start to deploy next-generation server and desktop technologies,” said Ed Bugnion, chief architect for VMware. “These new VMware features will facilitate software migration to 64-bit platforms.”

VMware support for concurrent 32/64-bit computing will be introduced across the VMware product line over the next 18 months, beginning with experimental support for 64-bit host operating systems in a forthcoming update to Workstation 4.5 which is expected to be available this quarter.

Notice VMware first upgrade to 64bit Workstation product to target developers, who will move to the new architecture sooner than all others. IMHO probably ESX and GSX (in this order) will follow in 6 months.
Also notice this will simplify eventual SUN Solaris 10 adoption as hostOS (since many customers are asking for it).

This move will further boost VMware competitive advantage over Microsoft, that still need to release its first 32bit Virtual Server edition. It’s quite improbable MS will change plans and restart developing a 64bit product.