The following brochure text was written in March-July, 2006. This brochure was written for the Itanium Solutions Alliance, a Seattle, WA-based organization founded by a group of leading high-tech companies (including Microsoft, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, etc.), and dedicated to the promotion of the use of Intel's Itanium® 2 processors.

This brochure gives a brief overview of the advantages of using Microsoft Windows and SQL operating systems on Itanium® 2-based server platforms. (A companion brochure, written by another author, discussed the advantages of LINUX operating systems on Itanium® 2-based platforms.)

I was hired as a writer for this project by Owen Media, a Seattle-based public relations firm that handles publicity for the Itanium Solutions Alliance. For this brochure, I researched web articles, case studies, and web content (from Microsoft, Intel, and other sites) on the benefits of Windows systems on Itanium® 2-based platforms, and "boiled down" the information into the format seen on the following pages.




Windows and Itanium® 2-Based Servers

Significant Benefits For Today's High-performance Computing Environments


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Advantages of Running Windows Server on Itanium® 2-Based Systems

Itanium® 2-based servers allow IT managers to create large-scale, enterprise-class hardware infrastructures for data-intensive, business-critical computing. Windows Server 2003 offers significant power and ease-of-use for administration and management of database workloads and line-of-business applications. Employing Windows Server 2003 on Itanium 2-based platforms allows companies to create scalable, high-performance computing environments that can handle their most demanding workloads, including mission-critical tasks, compute-intensive engineering and business applications, and high transaction volume databases.

Microsoft currently offers two 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2003 for Itanium-based systems -- the Enterprise Edition and the Datacenter Edition. In 2007, the new version of Windows Server, code-named "Longhorn," will be released, and will provide special features to improve Windows Itanium solutions in data center migration, database, ERP, BI, and line-of-business applications.

Which Intel platform for which Microsoft product?

Windows Server 2003* Version

Recommended Intel Processor-Based Platform


Windows Server 2003*, Enterprise Edition

Intel® Itanium® 2 Processor

  • 4 or 8-way processor platforms, or platforms needing greater than 4 GB of memory
  • Up to 1 TB memory for Itanium 2-based platforms
  • NUMA support for 8-way system

Windows Server 2003*, Datacenter Edition

Intel Itanium 2 Processor

  • 8 to 64 way processor platforms that require up to 1 TB memory support.
  • NUMA support for 8-way and greater system



First panel, right

Superior performance of Windows Server 2003 on Itanium® 2-Based Systems

When supported by Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Itanium-based platforms provide exceptional performance for high-demand enterprise and technical computing environments.

Increased Productivity --The EPIC technology that runs Intel Itanium-2 processors allows Windows Server 2003 to efficiently manage large data sets, support a greater number of users, and execute more instructions per clock cycle.

Better Performance of Applications -- 64-bit Intel Itanium 2 processors allow applications to perform faster than ever before. With support for up to 1 TB of memory, large data sets can be loaded into memory in their entirety, reducing the need for slower disk access. Also, existing 32-bit applications show significant performance improvements when run on 64-bit Itanium 2-based servers. SQL Server users will experience seamless transition to 64-bit platforms, with no data migration required.

Maximum Number of Applications Available To Meet Your Business Needs -- Over 7,000 applications are now available for 64-bit Itanium 2-based platforms. Windows Server 2

Better IT Infrastructure Management -- Windows Server 2003 takes advantage of Itanium 2-based platform manageability features to provide more effective deployment and management of IT resources.

Server Consolidation -- Using Windows Server 2003 Resource Manager with Intel Itanium 2 architecture, companies can reduce the number of servers needed for enterprise applications, consolidate multiple front-end applications on a single server, and enable easier manageability through fewer servers, thus reducing administration and operation costs for IT infrastructures.

Memory Resident Databases -- Itanium 2-based systems provide faster performance for large databases in resident memory, and for customers who use applications with databases designed to operate in memory. Also, Itanium 2-based systems deliver better results for databases requiring a scale-up implementation beyond 8 processors.

Greater Floating-Point Performance – Intel Itanium 2 architecture provides additional power for today's high-performance, real-time business applications, with E-commerce applications showing a 4-to 5 times performance increase on Itanium 2 platforms.


Second panel, left

Windows On Itanium® 2 Offers State-Of-The-Art Reliability And Security

Itanium 2-based platforms provide the most reliable architecture for business-critical computing in high-demand computer environments. The reliability advantages include:

Reliability, Availability and Serviceability (RAS) features -- Built-in Reliability, Availability and Serviceability (RAS) features on Intel Itanium 2 processors are designed to maximize uptime while also reducing downtime, data loss and corruption.

Machine Check Architecture (MCA) -- Supported by Windows Server 2003, the Intel Itanium 2 MCA provides extensive error detection, containment, and recovery to reduce downtime and significantly improve system and application availability.

Enhanced Security --Itanium 2-based platforms running Windows Server 2003 provide enhanced security management and protection of your network over an integrated infrastructure. Intel Itanium 2 architecture delivers industry-leading security transactions performance metrics, employing standard security protocols such as SSL through an enhanced instruction set and parallel execution capabilities.

Second panel, right

Exceptional Scalability Features of Windows on Itanium® 2-Based Systems

The combination of Itanium 2-based architecture and Windows Server 2003 allows you to develop flexible, open, and complete server platforms for connected and mobile solutions across your enterprise. With Windows Server 2003, your business can scale up to 64-way symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) and 1 TB of memory for Intel Itanium 2 processors. In addition, complementary Itanium 2-based platforms allow you to "scale right" to accommodate variable workloads and meet the increasing demands of your business.

The scalability advantages of Windows Server 2003 on Itanium 2-based platforms include:

Flexibility for Different Departments in Your Organization -- Itanium 2-based platforms and the 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2003 are both compatible with 32-bit servers and 32-bit Windows desktop machines. This flexibility enables businesses to provide high-performance 64-bit platforms and applications for high-demand departments (i.e. engineering) while keeping 32-bit platforms and applications for departments with less IT performance demand (i.e. accounting; marketing).

Flexibility to Work With Different Operating Systems – Intel Itanium 2 processors include Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) hardware that makes dual booting more maintainable, allowing better co-habitation between Windows and LINUX operating systems.

Easy Transitioning from 32-bit to 64-Bit -- Intel Solutions Services provides the migration and platform expertise you need in order to scale your 32-bit applications onto 64-bit Itanium 2-based platforms. Windows Server 2003 provides seamless management between Intel® Xeon™ processor family-based platforms and Itanium 2-based platforms.

Connectivity for Web Infrastructures -- With multiple processor and large memory support and cache, Itanium 2-based platforms can handle high-demand web workloads. Itanium 2-based servers and Windows Server 2003 support extensive XML data formats for Occasionally-Connected Computing environments.

Third panel, left

Windows Server 2003 on Itanium® 2-Based Systems -- Case Examples

Online Transaction Database Processing TPC-C Benchmark -- In April, 2003, Itanium 2-based platforms running Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition, set a #1 single-server TPC-C benchmark performance result of 707,102 transactions per minute (tpmC), on the HP Integrity Superdome server running SQL Server 2000, Enterprise Edition (64-bit).



Operating System


National Center for Supercomputing Applications

Dedicated to research on the benefits of cyberinfrastructure in government agencies, universities, and private-sector companies. Part of the National Science Foundation.

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition

Upgraded to 64-bit Intel Itanium-2 processors.

Gamess molecular dynamics application was run on a four-machine cluster, each with two Itanium CPUs and a fast Ethernet interconnect.

"The aggregate performance was over 12 gigaflops - 1.5 gigaflops per processor - the fastest performance that had been seen anywhere on a per-CPU basis for that application."


Leading technology retailer specializing in computers and home electronics.

Microsoft SQL Server 2000 (64-bit edition), upgraded to SQL Server 2005

Upgraded in 2003 to 64-bit HP Integrity Servers with Intel Itanium-2 processors.

Intel Itanium 2 processors deliver superior performance and scalability for CompUSA’s one terabyte data warehouse and its growing user base.

SQL Server 2005 provides next-generation data management & analysis, optimized for great performance on Itanium's 64-bit architecture.


"Every time I talk to the team, it’s: Wow! SQL Server* 2005 running on the latest generation Itanium® 2-based platform is better and faster every step of the way. The data warehouse drives growth, makes us more efficient and optimizes our operational excellence."

—Doug Gray, IT Director CompUSA

Source: CompUSA Gets a Business Intelligence Boost with Microsoft SQL Server* 2005 and Itanium® 2-Based Server, an Intel case study.


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Itanium® Solutions Alliance

The Itanium Solutions Alliance is a global community of hardware, operating system and application vendors dedicated to accelerating the adoption and ongoing development of Itanium 2-based solutions. Formed in September 2005, the Alliance is comprised of some of the most influential companies in the computing industry with a shared strategic commitment to deliver enterprise and technical computing solutions based on the Intel Itanium 2 microarchitecture. The Itanium Solutions Alliance provides a number of services and programs including Developer Days (free events to help software developers create and port applications for Itanium 2-based systems), the Solutions Center Network (allowing developers to port applications to Itanium-based systems remotely), and the Solutions Catalog (a comprehensive listing of hardware and applications available for Itanium 2-based solutions, searchable by operating system and other variables). For more information, visit

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