Microsoft ends Itanium support

April 6, 2010 | 12:04

Tags: #ia-64 #itanic #itanium #windows #windows-server-2008-r2 #x86-64

Companies: #intel #microsoft

Microsoft has finally sounded the death knell for Intel's ill-fated Itanium processor, with support being dropped following the release of Windows Server 2008 R2.

In a post to the Windows Server Division WebLog - via ARN - senior technical product manager Dan Reger explains that "Windows Server 2008 R2 will be the last version of Windows Server to support the Intel Itanium architecture," along with SQL Server 2008 R2 and Visual Studio 2010.

Reger was quick to quell fears that customers who have invested heavily in Itanium-based systems would be left out in the cold, promising "8 more years of [extended] support" for existing Itanium-compatible operating systems, but explains that "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."

Intel's Itanium processor - which used Intel's own IA-64 architecture, unlike the company's later x86-64 processors - was never a particular success in the marketplace, with the processor line having been given the nickname Itanic early in its life - an image which stuck as the company developed x86-64 processors which left the Itanium line standing.

Although Intel released a new, quad-core edition of the Itanium range back in February, Microsoft's decision to end support could spell the final death knell for the IA-64 architecture as a whole - news which will likely come as a blow to those companies still offering Itanium-based systems, including Hitachi, SGI, and HP.

Are you sad to see Intel's grand 64-bit experiment bite the dust, or was the IA-64 architecture a mistake from the beginning? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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