Windows Server 2003 beta ships for Opteron

Microsoft has released to some customers a beta version of its Windows Server 2003 operating system for systems using Advanced Micro Devices' 64-bit Opteron chip.

The beta version of Windows Server 2003 for 64-Bit Extended Systems is available now to MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network) subscribers and will be available "soon" to the general public, said Dennis Oldroyd, a director in Microsoft's Windows Server Group.

When it ships sometime in the second half of calendar year 2004, Windows Server 2003 for 64-Bit Extended Systems will be available in Standard and Enterprise editions, Oldroyd said. There are no plans right now to make a Datacentre edition.

The three general editions of Windows Server 2003 are Standard, Enterprise and Datacentre, with the first one being the simplest and the last one being the most sophisticated and robust. Unlike the other two, Datacentre editions of Windows Server 2003 aren't sold as standalone products, but rather bundled with systems from hardware makers. Right now there aren't any hardware vendors planning a server running Opteron and Windows Server 2003 Datacentre edition, he said.

Microsoft also announced on Wednesday the beta version of a Standard Edition of Windows Server 2003 for 64-bit Itanium-based systems. Microsoft already ships Enterprise and Datacentre versions of Windows Server 2003 for this Intel chip, which competes directly with AMD's Opteron. The beta version of the Itanium Standard Edition of Windows Server 2003 is available now to MSDN subscribers and "soon" to the general public. General availability is slated for the second half of calendar year 2004.

Pricing for all 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2003 will be the same as for the comparable versions of the product's 32-bit entries: US$999 for Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition, which includes 5 client-access licenses, and US$3,999 for Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition, which includes 25 client-access licenses, he said.

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