The 64-bit Tipping Point


For more than a decade, 64-bit architectures have played an important role at the high-end of enterprise and technical computing. Intel® Itanium® architecture shifted the market dynamics in that space, lowering the cost of entry and challenging high-end RISC-based systems in scalability, capacity, performance, and RAS (reliability, availability, serviceability). The new Intel® Xeon® processor with Intel® Extended Memory Technology (Intel® Intel®64) will trigger a broader shift toward 64-bit solutions. Servers and workstations based on this new processor offer reliable and exceptionally cost-effective 64-bit support, while simultaneously providing leading performance for existing 32-bit applications. They deliver a valuable addition to the high-end capabilities of Itanium architecture, and will help reduce 64-bit migration costs for a wide variety of general-purpose enterprise and technical applications.

The move toward 64-bit computing for mainstream applications,will initially focus on applications that are already constrained by 32-bit memory limitations. The challenge for IT organizations is to determine the best architecture for specific solutions, while taking into account total cost and value within the broader IT and business environments. Itanium architecture remains the platform of choice for the most demanding, business-critical data tier applications, such as high-end database and business intelligence solutions. Platforms based on the Intel Xeon processor with Intel®64 are preferable for general purpose applications, such as Web and mail infrastructure, digital content creation, mechanical computer-aided design, and electronic design automation; and for mixed environments in which optimized 32-bit performance remains critical. For some mid-tier enterprise applications, the best choice may not be obvious, and will require a close look at software availability, business drivers, and workloads.

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