Microsoft to Cease Support of Intel Itanium Platforms

Windows Server 2008 R2 to Phase Out Itanium

by Anton Shilov
04/05/2010 | 12:11 PM

Microsoft Corp. has revealed that it would cease support of Intel Itanium processors with its future software. The company indicated that new server microprocessors from Advanced Micro Devices and Intel Corp. feature functionality that makes it possible to use them in mission critical servers, as a result, there is no need in Itanium, according to Microsoft.

 

“Windows Server 2008 R2 will be the last version of Windows Server to support the Intel Itanium architecture.  SQL Server 2008 R2 and Visual Studio 2010 are also the last versions to support Itanium,” said Dan Reger, senior technical product manager at Microsoft.

The natural evolution of the x86 64-bit (“x64”) architecture has led to the creation of processors and servers which deliver the scalability and reliability needed for today’s “mission-critical” workloads.  Last week AMD and Intel released new high core-count processors, and servers with eight or more x64 processors have now been announced by a full dozen server manufacturers.  Such servers contain 64 to 96 processor cores, with more on the horizon, Microsoft said.

Windows Server 2008 R2 was designed to support the business-critical capabilities these processors and servers make available. It supports up to 256 logical processors (cores or hyper-threading units), so it is ready for the ever-increasing number of cores. It supports technologies such as Intel’s Machine Check Architecture, which allow for the detection and correction of bit-level hardware errors. NEC recently published a new world record TPC-E benchmark for online transaction processing of 3,141.76 tpsE on a system with eight x64 processors – a result more than 50% higher than the previous record.

According to  the software giant, current support for Itanium remains unchanged. Each of these products represent the state of the art of their respective product lines. Each fully support Itanium, support Itanium 9300 (Tukwila) processor, and Microsoft’s support for these products will continue – following the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy. Mainstream support for Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems (and R2) will end, in accordance with that policy, on July 9, 2013, while extended support will continue until July 10, 2018.  That’s 8 more years of support.

Microsoft will continue to focus on the x64 architecture, and it’s new business-critical role, while we continue to support Itanium customers for the next 8 years as this transition is completed.