There is a lot of buzz about our new 64-Bit editions of Window Server 2003 - which got me thinking last night.  Microsoft has been in the 64-Bit game since the launch of Window Server 2003 – with Itanium. One aspect of SP1 (in my opinion) that is not getting a lot of attention is how we are still building and developing on the Itanium platform.

One of the features of SP1 for Window Server 2003 will include the IA-32 Execution Layer Driver for Itanium.  What is that you ask?  The IA-32 Execution Layer (IA-32 EL) is a software driver that improves performance of 32-bit applications running 64-Bit Itanium-based Systems. In short - IA-32 EL works by translating IA-32 code into native Itanium architecture code before it is executed.

It will be included as part of the SP1 for Server 2003 – or you can download it now:

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/64bit/ipf/ia32el.mspx

You can also read more about it at the Intel site:

http://www.intel.com/design/itanium/downloads/254318.htm

Ward