64-Bit Windows Nears Reality

The general availability of the system on April 24 will let Wintel servers claim a degree of parity with Unix-on-RISC systems.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

April 3, 2003

1 Min Read

The pending launch of Windows Server 2003 will be a milestone not only for Microsoft, but for the other half of Wintel, too. It's been eight years since Intel got into the server market and two years since it shipped a 64-bit processor, the Itanium. On April 24, a 64-bit version of Windows that takes advantage of Intel's 64-bit design will become generally available.

For Intel, "that's a pretty big deal," says Lisa Graf, the company's director of enterprise processor marketing. It means Windows-on-Intel servers can finally claim a degree of parity with its Unix-on-RISC competition. That's significant because Intel-based servers account for more than 80% of units that ship, but slightly less than half the revenue, analysts say. Intel wants to swing more of the high-end market in its direction. "We're very much focused on continuing to scale up," Graf says.

Several computer manufacturers already sell servers loaded with up to 32 of Intel's Itanium chips and a "limited edition" of 64-bit Windows. Bigger and faster machines are around the corner. Graf says servers equipped with 64 of Intel's 64-bit chips will become available during the next three to six months. And Intel's Madison chip, due this summer, will run 30% to 50% faster than Itanium 2.

Approximately 300 applications have been tuned to run on 64-bit Wintel computers--and that number is growing. Among the products being ported to the platform, Graf says, are BEA Systems' WebLogic, IBM's DB2 and WebSphere, and apps from Computer Associates, J.D. Edwards, Manugistics, PeopleSoft, and SAP.

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