Windows Server 2003 beta ships for Opteron

Microsoft has released a beta version of its Windows Server 2003 operating system for systems using Advanced Micro Devices' 64-bit Opteron chip.

The beta version of Windows Server 2003 for 64-Bit Extended Systems is available now to MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network) subscribers and will be available "soon" to the general public, said Dennis Oldroyd, a director in Microsoft's Windows Server Group.

When it ships sometime in the second half of 2004, it will be available in Standard and Enterprise editions, although so far there are no plans to make a Datacenter edition.

The three general editions of Windows Server 2003 are Standard, Enterprise and Datacenter, with the first one being the simplest and the last one being the most sophisticated and robust.

Unlike the other two, Datacenter editions of Windows Server 2003 are not sold as standalone products, but rather bundled with systems from hardware makers. Right now there are no hardware companies planning a server running Opteron and Windows Server 2003 Datacenter edition, said Oldroyd.

Microsoft also announced beta version of a Standard Edition of Windows Server 2003 for 64-bit Itanium-based systems. It already ships Enterprise and Datacenter versions of Windows Server 2003 for this Intel chip, which competes directly with AMD's Opteron.

The beta version of the Itanium Standard Edition of Windows Server 2003 is available now to MSDN subscribers and "soon" to the general public. General availability is slated for the second half of 2004.

Pricing for all 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2003 will be the same as for the comparable versions of the product's 32-bit entries: $999 for Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition, which includes fiveclient-access licences, and $3,999 for Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition, which includes 25 client-access licences.

Juan Carlos Perez writes for IDG News Service

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