Microsoft Corp. is seeking candidates to test Beta 2 of its 64-bit SQL Server 2000 Enterprise database which is being optimized for Intel Corp.’s Itanium 2 hardware platform launched on Monday.

“This means it’s been performance-tested with [Itanium 2] chips,” said Sheryl Tullis, product manager for SQL Server, in Redmond, Wash. The 64-bit architecture of the database means it will offer better memory throughput and faster I/O, she said.

The database is expected to be generally available later this year, concurrent with the release of the Windows.Net operating system. Parties interested in participating in the Beta 2 effort can obtain further information at The company is seeking several hundred testers.

Also related to SQL Server 2000, Hewlett-Packard Co. on Monday released benchmark results of HP Itanium 2 systems running a beta version of the 64-bit database. The company said it produced the “world’s best four-way system performance result” on the SAP R/3 Sales and Distribution 2-tier benchmark, supporting 470 users at an average response time of 1.82 seconds with a total throughput of 141,254 dialog steps per hour.

HP also said it outpaced other four-way servers in a TPC-C OLTP benchmark with a result of 78,455 tpmC at $5.12/tpmC.