XenSource has released the latest version of its Xen hypervisor, giving those of you eager to invest in 64-bit architecture reason to cheer.
Version 3.1 offers simultaneous virtualization of both 32-bit and 64-bit machines. In other words, you can now use one hypervisor for legacy 32-bit Linux or Windows guests and the new 64-bit workloads from Exchange Server, SQL, Oracle, DB2 and SAP. It's also compatible with large memory configurations and is configurable to up to 32 physical CPUs.
The rush to 64-bit operation has been a driving factor in virtualization circles ever since key software vendors like Microsoft and Oracle began pushing it for their enterprise solutions. Delivering 64-bit at the host level offers an advantage over industry leader VMware, which offers 64-bit guest support using a 32-bit hypervisor. And even then, they had to separate the 32-bit VMkernal from the 64-bit VM Manager to achieve that.
With virtualization now red hot in the enterprise, we don't expect it will be long before VMware beefs up its 64-bit capabilities. But for the moment at least, Xen is the one pushing the envelope.