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Intel® Virtualization Technology (Intel® VT)

Virtualization is already a part of your plans, but there is plenty of opportunity to do more

Virtualization abstracts hardware that allows multiple workloads to share a common set of resources. On shared virtualized hardware, a variety of workloads can co-locate while maintaining full isolation from each other, freely migrate across infrastructures, and scale as needed.  

Businesses tend to gain significant capital and operational efficiencies through virtualization because it leads to improved server utilization and consolidation, dynamic resource allocation and management, workload isolation, security, and automation. Virtualization makes on-demand self-provisioning of services and software defined orchestration of resources possible; scaling anywhere in a hybrid cloud on-premise or off-premise per specific business needs.

Intel® Virtualization Technology (Intel® VT) represents a growing portfolio of technologies and features which make virtualization practical, by eliminating performance overheads, and improving security. Intel® VT provides hardware assist to the virtualization software, reducing its size, cost, and complexity. Special attention is also given to reduce the virtualization overheads occurring in cache, I/O, and memory. Over the last decade or so, a significant number of VMM (virtual machine monitors) vendors, solution developers, and users have been enabled with Intel® VT, which is now serving a broad range of customers in the consumer, enterprise, cloud, communication, technical computing, and many more sectors.

Intel® VT portfolio currently includes (but not limited to):

CPU virtualization

CPU virtualization features enable faithful abstraction of the full prowess of Intel CPU to a virtual machine (VM). All software in the VM can run without any performance or compatibility hit, as if it was running natively on a dedicated CPU. Live migration from one Intel CPU generation to another, as well as nested virtualization is possible.

Memory virtualization

Memory virtualization features allow abstraction and isolation of memory on a per VM basis. These features also make live migration of VMs possible, and add to fault tolerance. Examples of memory virtualization features include: Extended page tables (EPT), accessed and dirty bits logging, page modification logging (PML), and EPT page switching.

I/O virtualization

I/O virtualization features facilitate offloading of multi-core packet processing to network adapters as well as direct assignment of virtual machines to virtual functions including disk I/O. Examples include: Virtual machine device queues (VMDq), Single Root IO Virtualization (SR-IOV, also a PCI SIG standard), and data directed I/O enhancements (DDIO), etc.

Intel® Graphics Virtualization Technology (Intel® GVT) allows VMs to have full and/or shared assignment of the graphics processing units (GPU) as well as the video transcode accelerator engines integrated in Intel system-on-chip products. It enables usages such as workstation remoting, desktop as-a-service, media streaming, and on-line gaming.

Network function virtualization (NFV) technologies from Intel enable network and security functions to be deployed as software on standard high volume servers anywhere in the data center, network nodes, or cloud. NFV appliances can co-locate with business workloads in virtual domains. Examples include: Intel® Data Plane Development Kit (Intel® DPDK), Intel® QuickAssist Technology, and Hyperscan.