Better together: engineering collaboration at the heart of breakthrough capability

As I’m new to The Server Room, I offer this brief introduction:  I am a marketing manager in Intel’s Software and Services Group – looking after Intel’s collaborative marketing efforts with virtualization solution providers.

A couple weeks ago, Ken Lloyd blogged about the incredible changes in compute capability and performance brought by the Nehalem microarchitecture – and gave credit to the advances in software, too.  I’d like to take the conversation a step further:  did you know that the launch of VMware™ vSphere 4.0 in April 2009 represented a milestone of collaborative development?  The combination of VMware vSphere and Intel Xeon processor 5500 based systems delivers astonishing performance in part because it is the result of a full cycle of collaboration.

Intel has a well established rhythm of technology innovation – and a lot of really smart architects who know a thing or two about cpu design – but we get innovative ideas from the outside, too.  Over the years of the VMware alliance, Intel has received (and acted on) many requests for small changes in cpu circuitry…changes that would make virtualizing the cpu easier, more efficient, or add capability.  A whole raft of hardware optimizations for virtualization were included in the Nehalem architecture.  As Intel started to deliver early silicon for Xeon 5500 based platforms, Intel software engineers worked closely with VMware engineers – optimizing vSphere code to take advantage of the new hardware features to improve performance, increase efficiency, and add new functionality.  The results?  Check out this video from the launch of VMware™ vSphere 4.0 to see for yourself what “better together” really means.  And the cycle continues – what can you imagine in the next round of collaborative innovation??