Also: Rethinking a move to an SGI Linux box; SANRAD rolls new switch for IP SANsIntel\u00a0and\u00a0Microsoft \u00a0last week released software designed to improve the performance of Windows applications designed for 32-bit processors when they are running on Intel's 64-bit Itanium 2 processors. The IA-32 Execution Layer software is slated for inclusion in Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1, which is expected in the second half of this year. But it now can be downloaded for Win 2003 Enterprise Edition, Win 2003 Datacenter Edition and Windows XP 64-bit Edition. Linux versions of the IA-32 EL also are expected later this year from SuSe Linux and Red Hat. The new software will let 32-bit applications run at 50% to 60% the speed of their 64-bit equivalents on Itanium processors, the companies say. Intel says it plans to improve the IA-32 EL's performance until it approaches 70% of Itanium's 64-bit performance.Customers who have shied away from SGI's\u00a0Linux-powered supercomputers because they don't need the high-end capabilities - or the high-end price - might want to take another look with the unveiling of the company's Altix 350, designed to provide a standards-based alternative to midrange Unix systems from HP, IBM and Sun. The Altix 350 scales from one to 16 processors and comes with most of the high-end features from SGI's MIPS-based Origin 3000 line, which runs Irix, the company's version of Unix. The Altix 350 starts at about $12,000 for a base one-processor configuration, although SGI expects most sales to come in the four- to 16-processor range at $5,400 per processor.SANRAD this week will launch a new storage switch for creating IP-based\u00a0storage-area networks. The V-Switch 2000 is a four-port switch that connects servers to Fibre Channel or SCSI storage via iSCSI. The switch is designed for small and midsize businesses, which might not have deployed Fibre Channel SANs. The switch has two Gigabit Ethernet ports and two Fibre Channel\/SCSI ports. The V-Switch 2000 costs $12,500.