Exchange '12' to be 64-bit Only

Microsoft has seen the future and it is 64-bits. That’s the message coming out of the company’s European IT Forum 2005 this week in Barcelona, Spain.

Company executives revealed that the next major release of several key server products will only run on 64-bit processors from Intel and AMD. High on the list, the next release of Exchange Server – currently codenamed Exchange 12 – which is due out in 2006, according to Samm DiStasio, a director in the Windows server group.

“A lot of what we do in the server business [centers] around reducing complexity,” says DiStasio. “[64-bits] does affect scalability in terms of memory addressing but there’s also a security component of that.”

The announcements come as Microsoft ships Beta 2 of its upcoming high-performance computing cluster server, which is also only designed to run on hardware that supports 64-bit memory addressing.

Additionally, DiStasio’s boss, Bob Muglia, senior vice president of Microsoft servers and tools, laid out a roadmap for 64-bit enabling key company products to attendees at IT Forum. For instance, although Windows Longhorn Server, targeted for release in 2007, will ship in both x32 and x64 editions, Release 2 of the system, set for roughly 2009 or so, will only be available for 64-bit servers.

Similarly, the small business edition of Longhorn will only be released for 64-bit hardware – i.e., CPUs that conform to Intel’s EM64T and AMD’s x64 memory addressing architectures. A third sibling, Microsoft’s “Centro” server for medium-sized businesses, will likewise only come in a 64-bit version.

Meanwhile, the company announced it has released to manufacturing Virtual Server 2005 Release 2. List price is $99 per server for the Standard Edition and $199 for the Enterprise Edition.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.