VMware and Intel are skeptical about cross-CPU live migration

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Just one week ago AMD demonstrated that performing a virtual machine live migration from an Intel CPU to an AMD one is possible.

Today SearchServerVirtualization publishes a very interesting article with VMware and Intel comments on that demonstration:

…”VMware currently provides full support for Enhanced VMotion Compatibility, which allows live migration of enterprise workloads across different processor families within the same CPU vendor. This technology provides customers the flexibility to move these workloads across different processor iterations in a stable and reliable way,” said Richard Brunner, the chief platform architect at VMware and a former Intel CPU architect.

But “attempting to make cross-vendor x86 instruction sets and features compatible in a VM for live migration puts this stability at risk, and so we have not pursued it,” he added…

Probably VMware is right in being so cautious about supporting cross-CPU live migrations, but the author correctly highlights its special relationship with Intel, that invested $218.5 million in the virtualization vendor (and was even rumored to be in bid to acquire it).
Maybe, without such relationship VMware would take some more risks and support the AMD effort.

While waiting for VMware and Intel to change their mind, savvy and well-respected virtualization professionals don’t mind tricking non-production ESX hosts with some CPU masking stunts (see here, here, here and here).