The server version of Microsoft's Windows Vista, set to be released early 2007, will be designed specifically for the high-end Itanium line, an enterprise-class processor that competes with IBM's Power5. Not an x86 CPU, the Itanium has received a lot of bad press over the years for being an awkward fit CPU that did not perform as it was intended, largely due to its lack of mainstream support in the software market. Originally Intel hoped it would become the number one 64-bit desktop and server processor, but that failed. After recent discussions with Microsoft, Intel has found a place for this processor to compete. The coupling of Itanium and Longhorn means that future versions of Windows Server will not be designed or really feasible for entry-level or midrange servers, such as SUS, Media Servers, File Serving and small business AD usage, but rather specifically for high-workload environments. This says a lot about the future of Windows Server, and where its place will be among the continuing growth of Linux, and decline of other mainstream server platforms such as AIX.
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