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VMware 64-Bit Support Largely Virtual

VMware Inc.

announced support for 64-bit platforms today, but its roadmap -- and the impact of 64-bit computing on storage networks -- remains sketchy.

VMware announced support for Advanced Micro Devices's (NYSE: AMD) AMD64 and Intel Corp.'s (Nasdaq: INTC) Extended Memory 64 Technology, which will allow virtualization of 64-bit servers -- but not any time soon. VMware will introduce 64-bit support for its VMware Workstation product later this quarter, then phase it in for its GSX and ESX server products over 18 months.

"Not too specific, were they?" quips Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64, a firm that tracks 64-bit computing.

VMware software divides a server or workstation into virtual partitions, allowing for more flexibility in handling stored programs. EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) bought the company last December for $635M in hopes of eventually using its virtualization capabilities for storage (see EMC Gobbles VMware). The acquisition was part of a trend toward virtualized storage that has been embraced by Egenera Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW), 3PARdata Inc., Veritas Software Corp. (Nasdaq: VRTS), and others.

"One of the strengths of VMware is to move workloads between physical servers," Brookwood says. "VMware allows you to move applications from one physical server to the next, based on changing workloads."

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