Microsoft kills off Itanium server support

Software dromedary Microsoft has decided that Windows Server 2008 R2 will be the last version of Windows Server to support the Intel Itanium.

Redmond has also decided not to bother with Itanium support after the SQL Server 2008 R2 and Visual Studio 2010

It is not as off Itanium is a dead man walking, at least for another eight years. Microsoft said that most current support remains unchanged.

The ItanicA spokesman for Microsoft said that mainstream support for Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems (and R2) will end, in accordance with that policy, on July 9, 2013, while extended support will continue until July 10, 2018. That’s 8 more years of support.

Dan Reger, who is Microsoft’s senior technical product manager for Windows server said that Darwin has killed off processors with fewer cores.

“The natural evolution of the x86 64-bit (“x64”) architecture has led to the creation of processors and servers which deliver the scalability and reliability needed for today’s “mission-critical” workloads,” he said.

Both Intel and AMD have released new high core-count processors, and servers with 8 or more x64 processors have now been announced by a full dozen server manufacturers. Such servers contain 64 to 96 processor cores, with more on the horizon, he said.

Despite the fact Microsoft thinks that its move is because of the better technology that is on offer, the news is a bit of a set back for Intel.

Intel, which has struggled to get its 64-bit Itanium processors more widely used by server makers. It released the latest, quad-core version of Itanium in February after several delays. The news follows a decision by Red Hat that it would not support Itanium with the next release of its Linux OS.

But Intel might have accidentally killed off Itanium on its own. Last week it released its Xeon 7500 series processors, which include high-end reliability features that Intel once reserved for Itanium.

To the bods in Microsoft reliability was the only thing that Itanium had going for it. Besides the number of Windows licenses sold on Itanium was nothing compared to the rest of its x64 business.