As reported earlier in WinInfo, the 64-bit version of Windows 2000, code-named "Janus," is on track for a mid-2000 release that will coincide with the release of Merced, Intel's first 64-bit processor. The 64-bit edition of Windows 2000 will support far more memory than today's 4GB limit, allowing Merced systems to target the same 18GB plateau as Compaq's 64-bit Alpha.

But Windows 2000 64-bit Edition isn't just about size and speed: It will also incorporate some new features that further differentiate it from the 32-bit versions of Windows 2000. For example, Active Directory will be enhanced to allow the merging of separate administrative domain "forests." And the failover and load balancing features will exceed that of the 32-bit versions as well, making Windows 2000 64-bit Edition a more compelling choice for Big Iron customers. And lest anyone snicker at this thought, remember that OS guru David Cutler, the engineer who designed Digital VMS and Windows NT, is leading the 64-bit charge at Microsoft.

"David Cutler will ensure that \[Windows 2000 64-bit\] stays on track," I was told by an ISV who attended Microsoft's Fusion'99 show last week. "It will be the ultimate enterprise application server with amazing transactional capabilities."

Windows 2000 Professional, Server, and Advanced Server are 32-bit operating systems that are scheduled for release in late 1999. Three to four months after that, Microsoft will release Windows 2000 DataCenter Server, also a 32-bit OS. And then the 64-bit Edition is expected in mid-2000, or about six to eight months after the initial release of Windows 2000