64-bit Windows 2000 To Be Ready for Itanium

At the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) last month, Intel Corp. and eight hardware partners showed off prototype Itanium 64-bit servers, and Intel claimed the chip will reach production mid-year.

At the IDF word got out that the 64-bit version of Windows 2000 will enter beta testing in the second quarter of this year. Further, reports suggest that the final code will be pressed onto CDs in time for Intel's ( release of the Itanium chip.

Reports also say the Wintel wonder twins delivered an SDK to ISVs and IHVs that are currently working toward 64-bit support.

Michel Gambier, a product manager for Microsoft Corp. ( Windows 2000 enterprise marketing, says that the 64-bit version overlaps somewhat with the forthcoming Datacenter Server, coincidentally slated for release this June.

"The usage models are similar but I think you'll have two types of adoption," Gambier says.

Datacenter Server will be used by companies for OLTP and data warehousing, while 64-bit Windows 2000 will be used by early adopter, bleeding-edge companies for very large databases and in-memory databases.

A source close to Microsoft says that despite the delays of 32-bit Windows 2000, Microsoft will be ready for Itanium when it ships.

Microsoft planned the OS for a 64-bit Alpha processor prior to killing that intention in the middle of last year. Team Redmond, in fact, has been working on 64-bit builds in parallel with 32-bit builds for long enough to have a year's worth of 64-bit builds, says the source.

According to Gambier, when 64-bit Windows 2000 ships, there will be two versions: Server and Professional. - Thomas Sullivan

About the Author

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