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Getting Ready for 64-bit Windows

Stumped about how to prepare for 64-bit Windows now and in Longhorn? A Gartner analyst recently laid out a roadmap for organizations to follow in evaluating x64 versions of Microsoft Windows.

It's timely because Microsoft launched three x64 Windows servers last week (Windows Server 2003 Standard, Enterprise and Datacenter) and an x64 edition of Windows XP Professional last week. It's also timely, research note author John Enck says, because Microsoft confirmed last week that Longhorn Server will support x64, 32-bit and Itanium platforms when it ships in 2007.

"It signals that the industrywide transition to 64-bit computing will be a steady process, rather than a sudden leap to a new platform," Enck says.

The roadmap, in the form of a free research note called "Begin Preparing Now for 64-Bit Windows," divides enterprises into three categories: aggressive, less aggressive and conservative organizations.

Aggressive enterprises should begin testing the Windows Server x64 release this year with a focus on IIS, Terminal Services, driver compatibility and device compatibility. Those companies should also be carefully examining 64-bit support roadmaps for Microsoft and third-party applications.

Less aggressive enterprises should start the same process in the first half of next year, while conservative organizations should consider waiting until the Longhorn release. In any case, Enck recommends, "Deploy a full 64-bit stack only when you see real performance gains (30 percent or higher)."

Click here to view Enck's full research note.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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