Following recent high-end x86 chip launches by both AMD and Intel, Microsoft announced plans to phase out Itanium support in the company's server software.
Microsoft's move underscores how far the x86 architecture has come, which seemingly renders Itanium obsolete in some cases. Dan Reger, senior technical product manager for Microsoft's Windows Server division, said as much in a blog post announcing the change.
"Why the change? The natural evolution of the x86640bit ('x64') architecture has led to the creation of processors and servers which deliver the scalability and reliability needed for today's 'mission-critical' workloads," Reger said. "Just this week, both Intel and AMD have released new high core-count processors, and servers 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."
Reger said that Windows Server 2008 R2 will be the last version of Windows Server to support Itanium, while SQL Server 2008 R2 and Visual Studio 2010 also mark the end of the road for Itanium.
The change won't happen overnight, however, as Microsoft will continue so support Itanium customers until July 10, 2018.