Microsoft, AMD Evangelize 64-Bit

Microsoft Technology Centers to feature HP Opteron servers.

Microsoft is advancing its 64-bit agenda with the addition of some new AMD Opteron computers.

AMD said the No. 1 software vendor will use its chips in a batch of enterprise-class HP ProLiant DL145 and DL585 servers that Microsoft recently purchased for its Microsoft Technology Centers (MTC). Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The servers, installed in North America, Europe and Asia within the year, will let Microsoft customers test and validate 64-bit applications while monitoring the performance levels of their 32-bit apps -- something AMD promotes with Opteron.

"With AMD64 technology in the MTC, our teams will have the ability to help optimize customers' 32- and 64-bit .NET applications all on a single platform," Adam Hecktman, director Microsoft Technology Centers in Chicago, said in a statement.

In addition to Chicago, MTCs are based regionally across North America in Austin, Boston, Redmond, Reston, and Silicon Valley as well as other worldwide locations like Munich, London, Paris, Tokyo, Beijing, Taipei and Dubai.

The test servers will house the first x86-based 64-bit chips used in any MTC. Microsoft's test centers also offer server configurations based on Intel processors but only for its 64-bit EPIC architecture Itanium and the 32-bit Xeon family. Intel's 64-bit Xeon (EM64T) is currently available on the market, but a spokesperson for Microsoft was not immediately available to comment on any plans to include EM64T-based servers in its test centers.

Microsoft has been singling out the development of 64-bit computer chips ever since it decided to develop its Windows Server and SQL Server platforms for mainframe-like systems. The company has spent countless resources on both Intel and AMD to make sure the x86 processors are maximized for Windows environments. One early fruit of Microsoft's labor was a hardware security feature that, when combined with Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) or Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, could prevent buffer overflow style attacks.

Despite Microsoft's success with Intel and their Wintel legacy, AMD fell into Microsoft's favor when it came to 64-bit processors. Microsoft helped AMD with its chip development, which led to 64-bit support for Windows Server 2003 and SQL Server 2005.

"Working with Microsoft in the MTC is a key step in supporting our enterprise customers as they continue to optimize their IT infrastructures on AMD64 platforms," said Marty Seyer, AMD corporate vice president.






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