Microsoft releases its first 64-bit server OS

Microsoft releases its first 64-bit server OS

Microsoft Corp. last week delivered to hardware manufacturers its first operating system for the new 64-bit Intel Itanium platform.

Initially, Microsoft Windows Advanced Server Limited Edition will be available only preloaded on hardware, said Velle Kolde, Microsoft's lead product manager for Windows enterprise server software. The OS will reach other sales channels next year when the company releases the rest of its successor products to Windows 2000.

The delivery model resembles that of Windows 2000 Datacenter Server,[see story at gcn.com/vol19_no18/news/2325-1.html ]except that Advanced Server LE vendors won't be required to undergo hardware certification tests as Datacenter Server vendors must, Kolde said.

After a long-delayed advent, IA-64 computing will get a boost next year when Intel Corp. brings out its second-generation Itanium processor. But 32-bit computing won't go by the wayside, as 16-bit systems did in the mid-1990s, Kolde predicted. Microsoft will continue to update its 32-bit OSes for years to come because 'the ecosystem around 32-bit Windows is huge,' Kolde said.

The IA-64 platform will serve large database, data warehousing, encryption, modeling and simulation applications. 'It's inevitable that the industry will move to 64-bit computing, but it will happen over time,' Kolde said.

Manufacturers that have announced plans to build systems running Advanced Server LE are Compaq Computer Corp., Dell Computer Corp., Fujitsu America Inc. of San Jose, Calif., Hewlett-Packard Co., Hitachi Data Systems Corp., IBM Corp., Mitsubishi Electronics America Inc. of Cypress, Calif., NEC America Inc. of Melville, N.Y., and Unisys Corp.

Pricing for the new product will be comparable to that of Windows 2000 Advanced Server, Kolde said.

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