Microsoft To Launch Windows Server 2003 x64 Editions At WinHEC

Windows Server 2003 x64 server and Windows XP Professional x64 editions were released to manufacturing this week, Microsoft said. At an Intel 64-bit Xeon event in San Francisco on Tuesday, Andy Lees, corporate vice president of server and tools business at Microsoft, said the official introduction of the 64-bit extended editions would be at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (HEC) 2005 in Seattle in late April.

Unlike the existing 64-bit version designed for Intel's Itanium, the 64-bit versions coming out this spring will support both existing 32-bit and 64-bit applications and show considerable performance improvements in select applications such as databases. This will enable more customers to integrate existing 32-bit applications and experiment with 64-bit computing on the same platform.

"We're in the final stages of completing that offering," Lees said. "We're making sure we take all of the ISVs with us [and] we'll be announcing a raft of people making full 64-bit versions of their applications available. The fact that you're fully compatible with 32-bit [offers] massive improvements in price/performance."

Microsoft announced the release candidate of the Windows server x64 code in February. The company originally expected to ship the software in 2004.

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Further out, Microsoft will also support Intel's forthcoming dual-core technology. The combination of Intel technologies will make Windows perform on par with a Unix operating system, Lees said.

"The addition of 64-bit and dual-core [is like] putting turbo charger or supercharger [capabilities into Windows]," he said. "It takes Windows server computing into the data center."

Microsoft also plans to offer native 64-bit capabilities in its next round of applications including SQL Server in 2005 and the Windows Longhorn client, Exchange Server 12, Commerce Server 2006, Host Integration Server 2006 and the next versions of Microsoft Operations Manager and Virtual Server in 2006.