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Microsoft makes its way to 64-bit chips

Future products Exchange 12 and Longhorn server will be available only on x86-compatible 64-bit processors.

Microsoft said some upcoming products, including its Exchange 12 e-mail server, will run only on 64-bit processors.

At a conference for its management software customers, company executives detailed its plans to add support 64-bit microprocessors in its server applications and operating systems.

By late next year, Microsoft expects to deliver Exchange 12, which will run only on x86-compatible 64-bit servers, said Bob Kelly, general manager of infrastructure server marketing at Microsoft.

Kelly said 64-bit chips will make the greatest impact on the performance of applications such as Exchange and its SQL Server database.

"IT professionals will be able to consolidate the total number of servers running 64-bit (processors) and users will be able to have bigger mailbox size," he said.

Longhorn Server R2 and a small-business edition of Longhorn Server will be available only for x86-compatible 64-bit chips as well the company's Centro mid-market bundle. Longhorn server is expected to be released in 2007 and the R2 follow-up could come two years after that.

Without providing a specific target date, Kelly said that Microsoft is working on a product called System Center Essentials, which will be a management product aimed specifically at medium-size companies.

He said Microsoft intends to build application-level monitoring into the forthcoming version 3 of Microsoft Operations Manager to complement the present hardware-level monitoring.

Microsoft also said its Microsoft Virtual Server Release 2 will be available in the first month of December, priced at $99 per server for the standard edition and $199 for the enterprise version.