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Microsoft Lining up Products for x64, Multi-core Support

During Intel's launch of the "Truland" computing platform this week, a Microsoft executive laid out a roadmap of products that will be x64 and multi-core enabled this year and next.

The lineup provides a snapshot of Microsoft's ever-changing server roadmap. The PowerPoint slide shown by Andy Lees, corporate vice president for server and tools, included several minor surprises such as 2006 versions of Host Integration Server and Virtual Server and a 2006 delivery date for Exchange Server 12.

Lees is bullish on Intel's Truland platform for servers with four or more processors. Launched Tuesday with five processors supporting EM64T, Intel's 64-bit version of the x86 platform, the "Twincastle" chipset in Truland will also support dual-core processors when Intel ships them in the first quarter of 2006. "It's like putting a turbocharger and a supercharger to Moore's Law," Lees said of the 64-bit, dual-core combo. Microsoft plans to begin shipping 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2003 next month.

For 2005, in addition to the Windows Server 2003 x64 editions, other Microsoft products that will be ready to support both x64 and multi-core processors include SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005.

In 2006, according to the slide, a raft of new products will support both processor technologies. They include the Windows Longhorn client, Exchange Server 12, Commerce Server 2006, Host Integration Server 2006, BizTalk Server 2006, Microsoft Operations Manager and Virtual Server v2.

The 2006 delivery date is new, but probably extremely fluid, for Exchange Server 12. Previously, Microsoft said Exchange Server 12 would ship in 2006 or 2007. Host Integration Server 2004 shipped in September with little fanfare.

Showing another slide, Lees hinted at the performance gain users could see from the combination of the forthcoming x64 editions of Windows Server and Intel's EM64T and, although Lees didn't mention them, AMD's 64-bit Opteron chips.

Lees said most 32-bit applications will get increased performance with the move to 64-bit extensions. Preliminary, unbenchmarked, testing shows performance improvements over 32-bit systems of 111 percent user capacity in file serving, doubled throughput for Active Directory domain controllers, 170 percent more users for Terminal Services and 18 percent more users on SAP. Lees also boasted of record 7 Gb/second file transfers in networking.

For more information about Microsoft's enterprise product roadmap, see ENT's special report.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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