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Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems Feature Support

Applies To: Windows Server 2008

The Microsoft® Windows Server® 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems operating system provides high levels of performance, reliability, and scalability, and it is a competitor to reduced instruction set computer (RISC)-based UNIX systems. Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems is designed for scalable database workloads and for custom and line-of-business applications.

After you migrate a system running an Itanium-based version of Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems, most applications should continue to run correctly. Most applications are backward compatible, which allows you to incorporate new functionality into existing applications incrementally and to rewrite your applications to take advantage of the APIs and functionality of Windows Server 2008.

Like the Itanium-based versions of Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems supports client-side functionality for administration, management, and server tools.

This document explains the features, server roles, and optional components that are supported in Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems.


Windows Server 2008 R2 will be the last version of Windows Server to support the Intel Itanium processor and associated OEM server platforms. For more information, see Windows Server 2008 R2 for Itanium-Based Systems (

Supported and unsupported roles and features

Windows Server 2008 can be configured as an application server, but not as a terminal server. Therefore, you might need to migrate some current deployments of Itanium-based systems to systems that use other processors. Server roles hosted on current Itanium-based systems that are distributed or "scale-out", or do not require high levels of scalability, might need to be migrated because Itanium-based servers are more appropriate for "scale-up" loads.

Migrating services or applications from Itanium-based systems to systems using x64 processors is similar to migrating a service or application hosted on an earlier operating system to a more current version—for example, migrating from Microsoft Windows® 2000 Server to Windows Server 2003.

There are existing tools and prescriptive guidance for smoothly migrating workloads from File/Print and Active Directory® Domain Services (AD DS) between servers with the same or different processor architectures. For an example, see the Microsoft File Server Migration Toolkit (

The following table describes which roles are supported in Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems.

Role Supported as a Server Role Support for Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems as a Client Comment

Active Directory Domain Services



Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services



Active Directory Federation Services



Application server



Internet Information Services, ASP.NET, Windows Communication Foundation, Windows Workflow Foundation,

Common Language Runtime/.NET Framework, COM+, Message Queuing (also known as MSMQ), Distributed Transaction Coordinator, XML, and XrML are supported.

Microsoft .NET support on Itanium-based operating systems is intended for use with applications that are not performance-sensitive (for example, administration tools and system monitoring).

Primary applications intended to run on Itanium-based systems (such as database software or business applications) should use the Windows API.

Distributed File System Replication



Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) Server



Fax Server



File Services



Itanium-based systems do not support the File Services role. However, these features of the File Services role are supported: Services for Network File System (NFS) and Shared Folders (SMB) Server.

Print Server



Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service (RADIUS)



Itanium-based systems do not support Network Access Protection (NAP).

Removable Storage (formerly Media Services)



Rights Management Server



Routing and Remote Access Services



Can participate in a virtual private network (VPN), but cannot host or manage.

Terminal Services


Partial support

The Terminal Services role and its associated features are not supported. However, Remote Desktop can be enabled for administrative purposes.

Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI) Services



Windows Deployment Services



Unsupported features

The following features are not supported in Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems.

Client-Focused Capabilities

Custom cursors, screen savers, and themes

Game-related functionality

Internet Explorer® mail and news

Media Player

Microsoft Agent

Microsoft Outlook® Express


Photos and television

Scanner and fax

Video and camera

Windows Presentation Framework

The following network-related features are also not supported:

Networking and Related Tools


Bluetooth, wireless, secure wireless, and Infrared Data Association (IrDA)

Home networking


Peer-to-peer (P2P)

Real-time communications (RTC) Messenger


Telephony Application Programming Interface (TAPI)

Windows Messenger

Windows NetMeeting®

Supported optional components

Windows Server 2008 includes a number of optional components. The following optional components are supported in Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems.

Supported Optional Components


Cluster service

Diagnostic infrastructure

Subsystem for UNIX-based applications

LPR port monitor

Message Queuing

Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC)

Network Load Balancing (NLB)

Simple storage area network (SAN) management

Telnet Client

Telnet Server

Terminal Services

Windows Application Platform (WAP)

Windows System Resource Manager (WSRM)

Storage options for WSRM accounting data on Itanium-based systems do not include Windows Internal Database, because that feature is not available on Itanium-based systems. All other options are available, including remote storage and SQL Server storage.

Unsupported optional components

The following optional components are not supported in Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems.

Unsupported Optional Components

Desktop experience features (such as Windows Aero™ Glass and Windows Presentation Framework (WPF))

Remote Assistance

Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)

Simple Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) services

Support for wireless connections

Windows Internet Name Service (WINS)

Infrastructure and management applications and tools

You can use Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems to:

  • Design, deploy, and manage vendor and custom Itanium-based applications.

  • Manage the hardware platform and the operating system.

Applications and tools in Windows Server 2008 that provide the following are supported in Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems: installation and deployment; backup and storage management; resource, system, and enterprise management; and security, emulation, connectivity, and clustering.

Therefore, Terminal Server Remote Administration and client-level functionality for file, print, fax, DHCP, Domain Name System (DNS), certificates, Microsoft Update, Active Directory Domain Services, Rights Management Services (RMS), and deployment are supported in Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems.

Non-Microsoft applications and tools that provide other functionality might also be supported. Contact your application or tool vendor for specific information.

32-bit applications

Applications for 32-bit systems from third-party vendors might function correctly in the Windows on Windows 64 (WOW64) subsystem, but you should contact the vendor for questions about performance and support of their product in this environment.

Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems includes the IA-32 Execution Layer, a software driver designed to improve performance of 32-bit applications running on the Itanium-based versions of Windows Server 2003. This driver works by translating x86-based code into Itanium-based architecture code before it is executed.

We recommend that primary applications that require high performance and scalability use only native 64-bit code on Itanium-based systems. The WOW64 subsystem and IA-32 Execution Layer can be used for running 32-bit applications that are not critical for performance.

Performance will vary from one application to another when using the IA-32 Execution Layer. For 32-bit managed code applications (for example, applications built on Microsoft .NET Framework), we recommend using native 32-bit hardware.

Developer information

Microsoft has various development products for Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems. These include the Windows Platform Software Development Kit, the Windows Driver Development Kit (DDK) for Windows Server 2008, and the Visual Studio product line. These products enable a vendor or customer to develop static Web content, dynamic Web content, Web services, and Windows API-based applications and tools. The Windows DDK supports Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems and includes Windows Driver Foundation, kernel and user mode driver frameworks, device driver interface definitions, driver verification tools, and the Hardware Compatibility Test (HCT).

Contact your development product vendor for information regarding their products.

Product support, maintenance, and product life cycle

Microsoft provides the same ability to support and maintain Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems as the corresponding Windows versions running on different processor platforms. Microsoft Update and Auto-Update are supported for Itanium-based systems, and all required hotfixes and patches provided for other processor platforms will also be provided for Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems. Additionally, service packs for this platform will be on same schedule as for others.

For more information, see the following articles on the Microsoft Web site: