Microsoft Pushes Hardware Partners Toward 64-Bit

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2005-04-26

Microsoft Pushes Hardware Partners Toward 64-Bit

SEATTLE—While Microsoft Corp. intends to ship both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of its Longhorn Server software when it ships sometime in 2007, it plans to release a 64-bit-only version of Small Business Server in that time.

Going forward, 64-bit computing will be the default system Microsoft ships, and it will also be the system it encourages its hardware partners to support as well. "Of course we will support 32-bit, but it will be legacy by then," Bob Muglia, Microsofts senior vice president for Windows Server, said in an executive viewpoint session on the server opportunity at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) here on Monday.

Windows Server software also has the opportunity to grow in many existing and new places as the ongoing movement away from proprietary hardware to industry-standard hardware continues apace.

"Windows is the single biggest driver and beneficiary of that move," Muglia said. "The movement away from proprietary RISC-based architectures onto industry hardware is an important one.

Earlier this year, Muglia said Windows is squeezing Unix. Click here to read more.

"Unix to Windows migrations are forecast to grow by 150 percent, while of the 2.7 million Novell servers worldwide, 50 percent of these are on hardware that is more than four years old. Migration away from the mainframe also offered another opportunity," he said.

The past few weeks have been good ones for the server team, as Windows 64-bit on both the server and client shipped, and Microsoft can now target a much broader set of applications with 64-bit computing, he said.

Using 64-bit on some first-mover workloads, like networking, has yielded a record 7G-bps transfer rate, while on the file side there is an 11 percent higher user capacity, a two times higher throughput on Active Directory and 170 percent more users for Terminal Services, Muglia said.

Next Page: On the chip front …

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On the chip front, an Intel Corp. official told attendees that with regard to 64-bit computing, Itanium will scale up for the line-of-business applications and database environments of 50TB and more, while on x64 it will scale out across all workloads.

"Getting ready for Longhorn will take a lot of co-operation between both of us as well as the rest of the industry, he said, noting that Microsoft and Intel have established a joint lab in Washington state to encourage ISVs to come and test their applications and 64-bit drivers.

Ryan Waite, group program manager fore Microsofts High Performance Computing group, gave a demonstration at WinHEC of Microsofts Windows Server Compute Cluster edition, which will give users more computing resources, enabling them to run more complex models and get better performance.

Turning to growth opportunities, Muglia said the small-business side and the database market both have growth potential, with database and business intelligence markets continuing to grow strongly. "Our SQL Server product continues to gain market share, even though it is still the 2000 version," he said, pointing to a release of SQL Server 2005 coming later this year.

Microsoft is making the integration of SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005 the centerpiece of its upcoming product launches. Click here to read more.

There is also a growth opportunity around storage, which continues to grow, particularly with the movement toward disk-based backup. In addition, Microsoft will be releasing System Center Data Protection Manager 2006 later this year, he said.

Microsoft is very aware that managing systems is a huge part of what IT administrators have to spend their budgets on, even though hardware and software costs are going down. "The management cost is in people, as the software is only 6 percent of the total management cost. Identity is at the core of all manageability costs, and Active Directory brings opportunities for hardware integration and we are eager to work with those companies whose applications have an identity component to do so through Active Directory," Muglia said. Virtualization is also a very important trend, and the first service pack for Virtual Server 2005 is currently in beta and will support non-Windows guests including Linux.

In the Longhorn timeframe, virtualization will deliver an extensible .vhd format and include hypervisor technology and support for hardware virtualization technology. "So, moving forward, you will see 64-bit drivers being written, new form factors released, Active Directory authentication across devices, a Microsoft Operations Manager Management Pack, WS-Management, disk data protection and Simple SAN. "We are in the era of 64-bit computing, and in just two years 32-bit will be legacy. Remember that. We need all drivers to be 64-bit. There are great opportunities for all of us across the board, but we can only do it together," Muglia concluded.

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