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Longhorn Server 64bit plans revealed

We posted a Web bulletin today to let customers know that Longhorn Server running on Itanium-based servers “is designed specifically for database workloads and custom and line-of-business applications.” The bulletin goes on to state:

Windows Server roles that don’t apply to these workloads for example, fax server, Windows Media Services, Windows SharePoint Services, file and print servers, and others, won’t operate on Windows Server “Longhorn” for Itanium-based systems.

Most interesting are the comments from the J-OEMs, who view Itanium-based servers as the stepping stone toward open systems for their mainframe customers. Analysts from DOM, Insight64 and IDC also comment. I haven’t seen press coverage yet, but unless reporters are busy covering the Intel/AMD legal back-and-forth, I’m sure we’ll see something. I expect tabloid reaction. Hopefully folks will remember that this year alone we’re expanding Itanium support to Visual Studio 2005, .NET Framework 2.0, and SQL Server 2005, and we have 1,600 Itanium servers in the labs for testing Longhorn Server. Windows on Itanium is here for a while.

Along the same lines, Cnet reported the other day that a group of vendors, to be called the Itanium Solutions Alliance, are pooling efforts “to make it easier for customers to adopt systems using the high-end chip.” Here’s an excerpt:

In addition to Intel and Hewlett-Packard–the co-developer of Itanium and the top seller of Itanium servers–the alliance includes server makers NEC, SGI, Unisys, Hitachi, Fujitsu and Bull, and software makers Microsoft, Red Hat, Novell, Oracle, SAP and SAS, the source said.

I heard rumblings of this at IDF last week, where Itanium marketing took a back seat to multi-core procs and virtualization. But leading up to IDF, the head of HP’s Itanium server line said that Integrity servers have 5,000 applications. That’d be across UX, Linux and Windows; but either way, it’s a much larger number than most people would have guessed. It appears the Itanium Solutions Alliance has something to build upon.