-Bit-Support into Server Territory"> But Microsoft is extending 64 bits beyond the Windows operating system, with this years releases of SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005, Commerce Server 2006, Host Integration Server 2005, Biz Talk Server 2006 and Services for Unix all moving over to 64-bit. The 2006-07 timeframe will bring 64-bit releases of Longhorn Server, Exchange Server 12, Operation Manager, Virtual Server Version 2 and the Windows Server Compute Cluster Edition, Gates said.Microsoft.com runs 100 percent on Windows 64 Server, with many of its 32-bit applications running. "We have seen performance improvements even there," Gates said." "We have the enabling bits, and we are excited about what AMD [Advanced Micro Devices Inc.] and Intel are doing, both this year and certainly moving forward to next year. Microsoft has built products for Windows x64, the entire Server System, and we expect that the majority of new server shipments in 2005 will be 64-bit, with most PCs becoming 64-bit next year. Gates said PC shipments will rise by 10 percent this year, translating to more than 20 million units shipped over the year, and by 2008, the second billion PC will have been sold. As the global population stands at about 6 billion, Microsofts goal of putting a PC on every desk and in every home is starting to become a reality, he said. A million Media Center Edition units have been sold since last Octobers launch, bringing sales to a total of 2 million units since its release three years ago, with some key partners now pushing out large volumes, he said. Mishras demonstration, which showed how Longhorn will go beyond search, demonstrated not only the new search capabilities planned for Longhorn but also how data can be organized and retrieved. His demo started with the Start menu, where the first few letters of an application could be typed in and the associated application brought up immediately and launched, he said. Users also will be able to search for a word or phrase not just across their hard drive, e-mail and PowerPoint presentations, but also over RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds and Web sites they had visited. "There are things that we are doing in Longhorn that have not been done anywhere else. Apart from getting rid of the My in My Documents, My Pictures and all the other applications, we are moving beyond icons to give users a more comprehensive view of their data and the ability to view that information in a folder without actually having to open the folder," Mishra said. Read more here about Microsofts current search ambitions. Also new are virtual folders, which are like regular folders but are dynamic rather than static and instantly search across the entire hard drive, presenting the results as a flat list. These virtual folders show up on the left-hand side and can be stacked by keyword, author or other attributes, giving users a flexible view. Gates also gave a provisional timetable for Longhorn and explained how WinHEC attendees could work with Microsoft around this. One of the ways, he said, is for PCs to be labeled Longhorn-ready, meaning that they have a modern CPU, have 512MB of RAM and are ready for the Longhorn display driver. A good opportunity exists for partner differentiation and customer satisfaction, he said. The Windows logo program for Longhorn will be updated to include silver and gold tiers. A gold, "designed for Windows" certified logo will mean that the device or application fully exploits Longhorn demonstrably better than those that are not certified in this way. A silver logo will mean that the device or application does not fully exploit Longhorn, Gates said. Microsoft has spent and will continue to spend the most time and effort on Longhorns security features. Under the covers of Longhorn are security and administration changes, with more limited user rights so that users who now have to run as administrators will no longer have to do so. Other new features will include secure startup and network quarantine. Updates on the deployment front will include integrated hot-patching and easy PC migration, while in regards to reliability, the company is taking the Watson reporting tool concept even further: monitoring systems. "Think of it as a flight data recorder, which allows us to monitor systems continuously, and having that data delivered to us and fixing it before it affects another user," Gates said. On the performance front, the goal is to "push a button and then, boom, its there, along with smart caching so it goes out to the diskless and moving files around on the disk more smartly, as well as using nonvolatile memory more cleverly," Gates said. While Windows has a huge breadth of device drivers and it has been challenging to keep these updated, that process is now being made more simple and effective, using the banner of "Build Right and Keep It Right." "We think users should just be able to turn on the system and have a great experience, and thats our goal," Gates said. "Its a very exciting set of opportunities for all of us. This third decade is one of thriving growth, with new form factors, exciting new experiences and innovation, and new opportunities and possibilities around partnerships," he said. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.
Microsoft, which ate its own dog food so to speak, has already started moving to x86, with 5,000 desktops deployed at the company as well as a number of 64-bit servers running in a cluster. The software layer is doing the management, so if failover occurs, those systems can be removed over time rather than immediately, he said.