Intel branches out

Itanium2

Listening to Frank Spindler, vice president of Intel's corporate technology group, detail the company's product roadmap, one GCN editor was reminded of the way Microsoft baked previously separate software functions into its Windows operating system'data backup, Web browsing, media playback, etc. Intel calls its strategy 'platformization,' and it's set to gain momentum this year.

The chip giant considers its Centrino mobile technology, which includes a CPU, chipsets and WiFi radio, to be successful 'platformization.' Future generations of Intel chips will add built-in security functions (under the code name LaGrande) and hardware-assisted virtualization capabilities (code-named Vanderpool). You can expect to see LaGrande features around the same time as Microsoft's next-generation Windows product, known as Longhorn, in 2006. The Vanderpool virtualization functions, which allow a single hardware system to operate as multiple systems, should appear this year in Itanium processors before branching out to Xeon and Pentium 4 CPUs in 2006.

Spindler pointed out these are hardware layer enhancements and aren't substitutes for existing products. For instance, virtualization software such as VMware could still run on top of a Vanderpool platform.

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