64-bit Windows is almost here (and it’s in CS2006 too)

In the last day, I installed Release Candidate 2 of 64-bit Windows at home (running XP Professional x64). 64-bit Windows will be released for the Intel Itanium (IA64) and AMD64/Intel EMT64 (x64) standards very soon. It has been an interesting experience. Its definitely faster, but the driver support is expectedly not to the same level as 32-bit Windows XP/2003. But, testing it has been a very stable and satisfying experience and its definitely good enough for prime time if you have the driver support needed. (Being a pretty high-end home-user, it definitely got a thorough workout/torture test in my case.)

For Commerce Server customers, what does this mean? I envision two principal benefits when using CS2006 (which will be native x64) on 64-bit Windows Server 2003. First, 64-bit SQL will definitely provide an added performance boost from a raw horsepower – as the database ultimately becomes the usual bottleneck in most e-commerce deployments. But, the second and more interesting potential benefit is RAM. 32-bit systems have to utilize paging to address more than 4GB of memory. 64-bit hardware and Windows obviously do not have this problem.

So, it will open up a whole new realm for high-end hosting – since now hosting many memory intensive sites on a single piece of hardware (or else multiple 32-bit virtual machines on one 64-bit system running Virtual Server) can become a reality. I feel the sudden urge to run out and buy a few more GB of RAM coming on…

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