The future of Intel’s IA64 architecture does not look good with the Redmond giant being the next in line to drop it from the list of supported architectures.

Read on for more information.

If rumours of the IA64 architecture close to being shown the door in the computing world are to be believed, Microsoft’s latest annoucement should all but confirm it, even for the most ardent Itanium supporters.

According to a blog post by Dan Reger, a senior technical product manager with the Windows Server division, Microsoft will be pulling the plug on Itanium for good: Windows Server 2008 R2 be the last version of Windows Server to support Intel’s Itanium, while SQL Server 2008 R2 and Visual Studio 2010 will be the only versions of SQL Server and Visual Studio with support for Itanium.

However, support for the Itanium architecture will remain unchanged in accordance to the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy: Dan was quick to assure readers that Windows Server 2008 mainstream support will only end on June 9, 2013, while the extended support for the OS will stretch till July 10, 2018, slightly more than 8 years from now.

It is hoped that the 8-year period will be a suitably long transition period for corporate customers to start migrating away from IA64 and onto x64, which Dan claims is more reliable for the “mission-critical workloads” of today.

“Just this week, both Intel and AMD have released new high core-count processors, and 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 in his blog post, while citing NEC’s new record TPC-E benchmark score of 3,141.76 tpsE on a system with 8 x64 processors.

It should noted that Red Hat made a similar annoucement last year to cease support for the IA64 architecture as well.

Source: Technet Blog – Windows Server Division via Ars Technica