Yesterday Intel unveiled the Xeon 5500 chip, which is the server version of the chip codenamed Nehalem. According to Intel, this new chip will have 9 times the performance of the previous chip. It also includes great virtualization-friendly features such as Quickpath interconnect (supposedly 4 times the memory access bandwidth of the Front Side Bus), 10 GigE NICs on board and new virtualization-specific instruction set.
Does this sound like at least quadrupling the # of VM's one can run on a box?? I think it is an awesome development that will help spread the virtualization revolution. According to Intel, by the end of this year this chip will come with 8 cores. Just for the fun of it... One will be able to build a system with 4 sockets, 8 cores each making a 32-core system. Each core should be able to run 7-10 desktop machines... WOW this would potentially mean awesome consolidation of 300+ desktops on a single piece of hardware. Mind boggling. I think the ROI of VDI is going to get pretty attractive.
Btw - here is a great VMware article on the benefits of Intel Xeon 5500 hardware assist technologies as utilized by ESX: http://www.vmware.com/pdf/Perf_ESX_Intel-EPT-eval.pdf