Microsoft introduces 64-bit Windows

Microsoft has formally ushered in the 64-bit era for Windows, releasing its Windows Advanced Server Limited Edition designed to...

Microsoft has formally ushered in the 64-bit era for Windows, releasing its Windows Advanced Server Limited Edition designed to use Intel's 64-bit Itanium processor.

Company officials announced that the new operating system will be available on Itanium-based systems from IBM, Dell, Compaq and Hewlett-Packard before the end of September.

Microsoft hopes the new system will attract corporate users looking for lower-cost alternatives to what they believe are the more costly 64-bit proprietary platforms offered by Unix-based vendors.
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"We are looking to make 64-bit computing more approachable and affordable," said Velle Kolde, the lead product manager for Microsoft's Enterprise Server group. "Approachable in that this is the same Windows programming model so programmers aren't having to learn a new programming mode; they can just run it through the 64-bit compiler."

Advanced Server, which is based on Microsoft's .Net code base, supports as many as eight Itanium processors and 64Gbytes of physical memory, Kolde said.

With its ability to support large virtual memory and floating point calculations, Microsoft officials expect Advanced Server to initially appeal to corporate users with large databases running business intelligence, data warehousing and Web serving where large-scale caching is involved and secure communications are mandatory.

"It is also suited for scientific and engineering applications, simulated models including Wall Street-styled financial simulations and for encryption and decryption," Kolde said.

The product will be available only through OEMs. According to Microsoft, with so many new elements involved with both the operating systems and hardware, including new chip sets, firmware and new applications, the company needed to work closely with OEMs to ensure proper testing and support.

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