At a conference for its management software customers, company executives detailed its plans to add support 64-bit microprocessors in its server applications and operating systems.Frankly, I was dissappointed when MS announced that Longhorn would run on x86-32 at all. Now that x86-64 CPUs are starting to appear on the desktop, and should be the majority by the time Longhorn ships, having Longhorn only run on x86-64 would have drastically simplified application design. But I guess something is better than nothing.
By late next year, Microsoft expects to deliver Exchange 12, which will run only on x86-compatible 64-bit servers, said Bob Kelly, general manager of infrastructure server marketing at Microsoft.
Kelly said 64-bit chips will make the greatest impact on the performance of applications such as Exchange and its SQL Server database.
"IT professionals will be able to consolidate the total number of servers running 64-bit (processors) and users will be able to have bigger mailbox size," he said.
Longhorn Server R2 and a small-business edition of Longhorn Server will be available only for x86-compatible 64-bit chips as well the company's Centro mid-market bundle. Longhorn server is expected to be released in 2007 and the R2 follow-up could come two years after that.