Sun Microsystems will make an early version of its Solaris operating system for Intel's forthcoming IA-64 architecture available to key software vendors by the fourth quarterThe move will give software vendors a head start on developing and testing 64-bit Solaris applications for the IA-64 platform, said Patrick Dorsey, a Sun product line manager at Solaris.
IA-64 is a 64-bit chip architecture Intel and Hewlett-Packard have been jointly working on since 1994. The technology promises to let users run both Windows NT and Unix applications equally well -- and at a lower cost than current RISC-based servers. The first IA-64 chip architecture, code-named Merced, is scheduled to ship in mid-2000, with Merced servers to follow shortly thereafter.
In addition to an early-access version of Solaris for IA-64, vendors in Sun's IA-64 independent software vendor program will also receive an Intel-configured IA-64 simulator system and a suite of tools and compilers for migrating current 32-bit Solaris-on-Intel applications to 64-bit IA servers.