Intel has unveiled software which it promises will boost the performance of 32-bit applications running on its Itanium 2-based platforms under Windows.
The IA-32 Execution Layer (EL) software integrates with the operating system.
Itanium 2 processors provide support for 32-bit applications using on-die hardware. However, with IA-32 EL, support for IA-32 applications will be carried out in software.
After installation, execution of the 32-bit applications is run transparently using IA-32 EL.
At run time, the IA-32 EL translates the IA-32 application code into native Itanium architecture code and allows it to run as native code.
Mike Fister, senior vice president and general manager at Intel's Enterprise Platforms Group, conceded that many firms still rely on legacy 32-bit applications.
But he added: "This new approach enhances the performance and provides greater flexibility for future updates and scalability."
IA-32 EL is supported in Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition for 64-bit Itanium-based Systems; Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition for 64-bit Itanium-based Systems; and Windows XP 64-bit Edition. The software is available for download here.
"The EL enhancement will be of great help to customers who are primarily running 64-bit applications, but also have a need to run 32-bit supporting software," said Bob Muglia, senior vice president at Microsoft, in a statement.
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