Microsoft readies software for Itanium

Microsoft Corp. released Tuesday its first operating system compatible with Intel Corp.'s Itanium high-end processor architecture some time after similar software has been available from rival distributors of the Linux operating system.

Microsoft began shipping Tuesday its Windows Advanced Server, Limited Edition operating system for servers that use the high powered 64-bit Itanium chip codeveloped by Intel and Hewlett-Packard Co.

Itanium technology has been touted as Intel's and Microsoft's answer to high-end servers built around proprietary versions of the Unix operating system made by the likes of Sun Microsystems Inc. and IBM Corp. Both Intel and Microsoft profited from their collaboration around less powerful 32-bit systems and now hope to extend this success to less familiar territory in the high end space. Itanium servers are designed to handle complex computing tasks such as scientific applications and financial software.

Server makers Compaq Computer Corp, Dell Computer Corp., HP and IBM will begin shipping hardware with the new Microsoft operating systems within the next thirty days, according to a statement. Other vendors such Hitachi Ltd, NEC Corp. and Unisys Corp. will follow with their own systems later this year.

Linux vendors such as Red Hat Inc. and SuSE Linux AG began shipping their software for Itanium earlier this year. In addition, HP has made its HP-UX operating system available for Itanium systems. HP is also one of the hardware companies that has begun shipping workstations and servers built on Itanium technology.

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