The buzz has just barely died down from the impressive showing of Intel's new dual-core architecture, but chip and server vendors are already lined up behind quad-core processing as the next big performance advance in the data center.
Both chip vendors have powerful allies in the fight. IBM and HP announced in May that they were launching new server models based on Intel's dual-core architecture that offered an upgrade path to quad-core when they hit the market next year. Sun is reportedly designing an AMD-based dual-core blade line that will offer automatic upgrades to quad.
So what's the big deal with quad-core, other than the fact that four is more than two? Not surprisingly, virtualization is a key issue; both AMD and Intel are building virtualization accelerators into their latest dual-core offerings, with increased emphasis coming down the road. Quad-core also promises to transform the architecture of memory access, making a single box with terabytes of advanced RAM a reality for data-intensive needs.