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PCI-SIG SR-IOV Primer: An Introduction to SR-IOV TechnologyIBM introduced virtualization on the VM/370 mainframe 30 years ago as a way to run multiple environments on one system. At the time, computing resources were expensive and allowing multiple environments to coexist meant that businesses didn’t have to invest in a second mainframe.Today there is a different motivation driving the trend toward virtualization. With IA-based (Intel® architecture) servers, the price structure has changed so much that hardware cost is no longer the issue. Bigger problems are physical space in the data center, power/cooling costs, and management. The performance of the IA-based servers has also increased to a point where there is a large amount of idle capacity.With virtualization, IT departments can utilize that spare capacity rather than adding a new physical server to support a new environment.Adding the virtualization layer introduces overhead that consumes some of the idle capacity. There has been significant effort in the computing industry to address this overhead. Intel has introduced a set of processor, chipset, and Ethernet Controller enhancements defined under Intel® Virtualization Technology (Intel® VT) toward this end. Intel® VT improves the performance, efficiency, and robustness of virtualized platforms.The latest trend is to develop complementary mechanisms in the I/O subsystem. The PCI-SIG* has developed the Single Root I/O Virtualization Specification (v1.1) to address sharing of I/O devices in a standard way.Read the full PCI-SIG SR-IOV Primer An Introduction to SR-IOV Technology.
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