64-bit Windows, Apache make their way to Opteron

AMD is demonstrating 64-bit versions of Windows, Apache and other applications on Opteron systems, showing off the chip's 32-bit and 64-bit abilities

AMD is showing off a 64-bit version of the Windows operating system and 64-bit-compatible applications for its upcoming Opteron processor, in an effort to stoke interest in the long-anticipated chip, which will arrive for servers and workstations in the first half of next year. AMD also announced a version of the Apache Web server customised for the chip.

At the Supercomputing 2002 conference in Baltimore, Maryland on Monday, AMD demonstrated a prototype 64-bit Windows operating system running Internet Information Server (IIS), Terminal Services and Internet Explorer, all 64-bit applications. The software was running on an Opteron system built by Newisys Khepri, a server startup founded by former IBM executives.

AMD has received praise from analysts for its Opteron strategy, which allows users to run both 64-bit and 32-bit applications. By comparison, Intel's Itanium server chip only runs 64-bit applications, which must be written for the processor from scratch. Sixty-four bit computing allows machines to address larger chunks of memory, significantly speeding up certain tasks, such as large database operations. However, the chip has been delayed several times, eroding its edge over the competition.

In keeping with the theme of co-existence of 32-bit applications, AMD demonstrated a 32-bit version of Office XP running on the 64-bit operating system, with the ability to access data and files from both 32-bit and 64-bit applications.

"Tomorrow's systems based on AMD Opteron processors will allow customers to migrate to 64-bit computing while maintaining 32-bit compatibility, protecting our customers' technology investment," said Marty Seyer, vice president of server business segment for AMD's Computation Products Group, in a statement.

Also at the Supercomputing show, AMD demonstrated an application called Fluent which is used to simulate, visualise and predict fluid flow, and usually operates on multiprocessor comptuers or high-performance clusters. The application is used in the automotive, aerospace and power generation industries, among others.

At a separate event, the chipmaker revealed that Covalent and Red Hat are developing an Apache-based Web server for the Opteron. The software will support both 32- and 64-bit computing, which will allow customers to gradually scale to 64-bit, according to AMD.

"Red Hat is ensuring that users of Red Hat Linux Advanced Server, which includes the Apache Webserver, can easily migrate from 32- to 64-bit processing power with AMD Opteron technology," said Paul Cormier, Red Hat's executive vice president of engineering.

Apache is open-source software that powers the majority of Web servers. It is overseen by the Apache Software Foundation. AMD made the announcement at ApacheCon 2002 US in Las Vegas.

AMD is also demonstrating Opteron and desktop chips using Opteron technology -- code-named "Hammer" -- at the Comdex Fall 2002 trade show, also in Las Vegas, this week. (For full Comdex coverage from the show floor see ZDNet UK's Fall Comdex 2002 News Focus.)

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