With 64-bit processors commonly available and 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2003 waiting at the ready, when you install new servers, you should ask yourself if it's time to introduce 64-bit computing to your organization.
64-bit processing offers a number of advantages over 32-bit, including:
- The ability to address more memory. With 32-bit hardware and software RAM, capacity tops out at 4GB, unless users implement workarounds. A few years ago, this was huge, but with today's super-scalable databases and other heavy-duty computing needs, 4GB just scratches the surface for many.
- Faster computational ability. 64-bit processors with 64-bit operating systems can process more data per clock cycle than their 32-bit counterparts, making 64-bit systems ideal for research or processor-intensive applications.
- 64-bit computing on the x64/x86 architecture can bring UNIX-like performance to the Windows crowd at a cost that is much less than UNIX—without the expensive additional skill set.
Here are some other things to keep in mind when considering the 64-bit edition of Windows Server 2003:
- From the administrator's perspective, 64-bit Windows is just like 32-bit Windows, so you don't need to invest a lot of money in training.
- There are two editions of 64-bit Windows Server 2003. The x64 edition works with AMD and Intel x86-based hardware with 64-bit extensions (x86-64 and EM64T). There is an "R2" x64 edition of Windows Server 2003 available as well. The other 64-bit edition is named "Windows Server 2003 for Itanium-based Systems"; there is no "R2" release planned for this product.
- Some features found in the 32-bit edition are missing from the 64-bit product, including 16-bit support, POSIX, DOS, and some legacy networking protocols.
- Not all software will run under a 64-bit operating system. Before you take the plunge, check with your application vendors.
- Not all hardware drivers have 64-bit editions at this point.
Miss a column?
Check out the Windows 2003 Server archive, and catch up on the most recent tips from this newsletter.
Stay on top of the latest WS2K3 tips and tricks with our free Windows Server 2003 newsletter, delivered each Wednesday. Automatically sign up today!