An Alternative View of Exchange 12’s 64-Bitness

Recently, Microsoft surprised many by announcing that the next version of Exchange will only run on the 64-bit version of Windows Server (more at this page).

While this is a good move for medium-size to large Exchange customers, it’s illustrative of the fact that Exchange scales relatively poorly in the real world. This is because it requires quite high disk I/O bandwidths to read and write its message store database. In order to mask the impact of its I/O requirements, Exchange makes heavy use of RAM to cache the database contents. A 64-bit version of Exchange permits Microsoft’s customers to build servers with more RAM, which should allow each server to support more users.

Richi Jennings, with thanks to Julie Farris of Scalix

One Comment

  1. Posted November 29, 2005 at 12:19 PM | Permalink

    This is a good example of why companies who are running Exchange need to implement some kind of connection management solution in front of their servers. Adding more memory is a short term fix. Moving to 64-bit requires buying more hardware which in most large corporations takes a long time to provision, test, and install.

    Full disclosure: my company is in the connection management business.

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