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3 min read

The Magic of Software Meeting Hardware

Hello, I’m Margaret Lewis from AMD.  Before I get into this entry, I’d like to thank the team at Microsoft for allowing me to guest post on their Windows Server blog. For those of you who know me, you know my passion is the software that is closest to the hardware. Call me crazy – but to me this union of software and hardware is where the magic happens. 
Getting processor and operating system road maps to intersect is more of an art than a science, but it’s key to ensuring that all the software “in the stack” – all the software on a system, that is – runs smoothly. I’m happy to say that we have one of those magical moments happening between Microsoft Window Server 2008 R2 operating system and our six-core AMD Opteron processor, codenamed “Istanbul.”
So, to celebrate the release candidate of Windows Server 2008 R2, I’ll go into some of the reasons why these two pieces of technology are such a great combination of AMD and Microsoft technologies. 
The first reason is rather obvious – the combination of Six-Core AMD Opteron “Istanbul” processors and Windows Server 2008 R2 offer support for larger core counts, enabling more robust computing environments for the demands of virtualization and databases. Beyond more support for more cores, these products can also help you “green” your IT. For example, AMD PowerNOW!, a feature that adjusts power consumption to core utilization, is turned on by default in Windows Server 2008, enabling power efficiency improvements and creating the ideal foundation for workloads that experience highs and lows in demand. Istanbul and R2 also provide support for “Core Parking,” a feature that helps to consolidate processing onto the fewest number of cores and then suspends the inactive cores, again helping to reduce energy consumption.  
This is also a great foundation for virtualization.  As virtualization adoption continues to grow, AMD and Microsoft continue with innovations that deliver a highly efficient virtualization platform. As you may know, Hyper-V, a core component of Windows Server 2008, supports AMD-V technology, including Rapid Virtualization Indexing (RVI), which handles the complexity of virtual machine memory management. And by dropping the hypervisor CPU time, customers can save memory requirements per VM. 
One greatly anticipated feature of Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V is the ability to  migrate running  virtual machines (VMs) so an IT manager can move  VMs between physical servers without any noticeable down time. Live migration enables new levels of flexibility and fault tolerance within the data center (I encourage you to check out my post about live migration today on my blog here). If you want to see live migration in action, you should check out this video demonstrating Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V R2 performing live migration from a Quad-Core AMD OpteronTM “Barcelona” processor to a 45nm Quad-Core AMD Opteron “Shanghai” processor. 
This excellent meshing of the Quad-Core AMD Opteron processor and Windows Server 2008 R2 builds on the collaboration that has helped to drive revolutionary innovation into x86 computing environment, including 64-bit computing, NUMA optimizations, multi-core capabilities and more.
This “magic” is the result of a lot of hard work by the dedicated engineers at AMD and Microsoft. The result is OS, hypervisor and processor technology that work seamlessly together, benefiting all the software running on the system. 
What are your thoughts on the meeting of hardware and software?  Have you had any “magic moments” lately? Leave your thoughts on this blog or @me on Twitter.
Margaret Lewis (@margaretjlewis) is a Product Marketing Director at AMD. Her postings are her own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied.