Tuesday, April 6th 2010

Microsoft to End IA64 Support

Microsoft plans to gradually end support for the Intel Itanium IA64 architecture with this generation of Windows, SQL Server, and Visual Studio software. The Windows Server 2008 R2, SQL Server 2008 R2, and Visual Studio 2010, will be the last versions to support IA64. Mainstream support for IA64, for Windows Server 2008 R2 will end end on July 9, 2013, while in accordance with Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy, extended support will last till another five years past 2013, ending on July 10, 2018. Till that time, Microsoft hopes that the industry will adapt itself extensively to the x86_64 (x64) architecture for enterprise hardware.

This change establishes x86_64 as the de-facto 64-bit computer architecture across all segments of computing, as far as Microsoft's market is concerned. A majority of IA64 users use the HP-UX operating system, with Microsoft Windows Server having a paltry 5 percent usage share. Having a small market share with IA64, Red Hat had last year, announced that it would end support for IA64 since the tiny userbase didn't justify having continued development of RHEL for IA64. For consumer operating systems, Microsoft ended IA64 support with Windows Vista, leaving only Windows Server versions with it.

IA64's rise to popularity came with it being the first to offer 64-bit extended memory capabilities, and after the advent of x86_64 by AMD's AMD64 technology, offered higher reliability and scalability not found with x86_64. Recent releases in Intel and AMD's Xeon and Opteron lines of enterprise-grade x86_64 processors changed that, and those chips became capable of higher scalability with support for even more sockets per system. This kills IA64's selling-points. Intel's most recent IA64 processor was the Itanium 9300 series "Tukwilla" processors that makes use of QuickPath Interconnect.Source: Windows Server Division Blog
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15 Comments on Microsoft to End IA64 Support

#1
mtosev
guess that means most users wren't using ia64.
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#2
Delta6326
lol never heard of this IA64 i geese thats why there getting rid of it
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#4
HalfAHertz
by: Delta6326
lol never heard of this IA64 i geese thats why there getting rid of it
It was never focused at users in the first place. It was a purely HPC based architecture and it actually has some elements which are 128 bit.
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#5
WhiteLotus
I read about them last night. No idea what the wiki page was on about, far too many acronyms for me to understand. Guess they wont be missed
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#6
HalfAHertz
Well they are considered to be one of Intel's biggest "failures", being sold only by IBM and HP in limited numbers, barely breaking even with all the R&D invested in the architecture.
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#7
DanTheBanjoman
SeƱor Moderator
by: HalfAHertz
Well they are considered to be one of Intel's biggest "failures", being sold only by IBM and HP in limited numbers, barely breaking even with all the R&D invested in the architecture.
It was actually developed together with HP. Not only IBM and HP sold them, many other manufacturers have Itanium systems available, they just serve a very niche market nowadays. IA64 was supposed to replace x86 as a whole, shame this didn't happen. Legacy free would have been nice.

Luckily Itaniums + Windows is not the most logical configuration, if you want to run Windows you're better off with Xeons in most cases. So perhaps the Itanium will stay around. Though seeing how every new generation has its screwups and the Xeons offering a lot more nowadays I can see the Itanium line being dropped by Intel.
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#8
mdm-adph
by: DanTheBanjoman
It was actually developed together with HP. Not only IBM and HP sold them, many other manufacturers have Itanium systems available, they just serve a very niche market nowadays. IA64 was supposed to replace x86 as a whole, shame this didn't happen. Legacy free would have been nice.

Luckily Itaniums + Windows is not the most logical configuration, if you want to run Windows you're better off with Xeons in most cases. So perhaps the Itanium will stay around. Though seeing how every new generation has its screwups and the Xeons offering a lot more nowadays I can see the Itanium line being dropped by Intel.
What's sad is that as much as I don't like Intel, everything I've read about the science behind Itanium's architecture tells me it's extremely ahead of its time -- here's hoping the drop of Windows support doesn't hurt it (thought something tells me it won't).
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#9
Frick
Fishfaced Nincompoop
Well, it's the way things go. I don't think it was intended for Windows users anyways, and I don't even think I've ever heard of an Itanium system with Windows. No real loss.
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#10
v12dock
Nooo... How am I going to use my Itanium
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#11
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
x86 is known as IA32 (Intel Architecture 32-bit). IA64 was meant to replace IA32 but because AMD came along and released x86-64 (extended x86 rather than replacing it), IA64 as a viable consumer product has been killed.

IA64 is definitely higher performance in practically every regard compared to IA32 but the sacrifice is backwards compatibility.

As mdm-adph said, AMD basically killed the future in regards to high performance instructions sets. We're stuck with a 2+ decade old standard indefinitely. IA64 was meant to be the future.
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#12
TheGuruStud
Bye, bye, Itanic. Many billions wasted and nothing to show for it.

It's okay, intel has a new baby to waste billions on and never get anywhere.

But what's mind boggling is that intel just won't give it up. Let the thing die already. By the time it's affordable to produce (I assume the price jacked from RnD and their mindset) the tech will be too old to be useful.
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#13
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
Itanium 2 had as many transistors as Core 2 Quad several years before Core 2 Quad came out. Itanium has always been, and still is, ahead of the curve (Moore's Law). That's why it is expensive. IA64 itself is not expensive (no more than x86). If Intel made a consumer IA64 chip, it would have been competitive with current products on the market in every regard; unfortunately, the only IA64 chips we'll ever see are enterprise models (Itanium brand).


Intel is as much to blame for this as Microsoft. Intel never pushed IA64 towards the consumer market and Microsoft most likely expected them to. Microsoft isn't making much money on Itanium without consumer products so they are giving up on waiting.
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#14
Syborfical
by: mdm-adph
What's sad is that as much as I don't like Intel, everything I've read about the science behind Itanium's architecture tells me it's extremely ahead of its time -- here's hoping the drop of Windows support doesn't hurt it (thought something tells me it won't).
Just like Alpha Dec's where ahead of there time but they got killed by the I-Titanic.....
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#15
mdm-adph
by: FordGT90Concept
As mdm-adph said, AMD basically killed the future in regards to high performance instructions sets. We're stuck with a 2+ decade old standard indefinitely. IA64 was meant to be the future.
No, I didn't say that at all, but it's impressive to see you spin my words that way.

Gotta get your digs in, eh? :laugh:

If Intel had wanted us to all be using IA64 now, we'd all be using it. What they want, they get.
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