SharePoint MOSS 2007: mixing 32bit and 64bit

You may come across environments which have 32bit servers running SharePoint 2007 which would need to be upgraded to SharePoint 2010. Since SharePoint 2010 does not run on 32bit, an ‘in place upgrade’ option from SharePoint 2007 32 to SharePoint 2010 64 bit may come to mind.

In that case.. you would have to rethink your upgrade strategy. There are many complexities and risks associated with the in place upgrade method and you are better off migrating, rather than upgrading.
However, if you choose to upgrade, then the first step will be to ‘upgrade’ all your SharePoint 2007 – 32bit servers to SharePoint 2007 – 64bit servers. The key is to maintain architecture homogeneity.

Even if you aren’t considering SharePoint 2010 at the moment, you might see value in upgrading to SharePoint 2007 on 64 bit anyway. For example: 64bit addresses larger memory (upto 1024GB!). Here are some advantages of running 64bit: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd630755%28office.12%29.aspx

One HUGE benefit is to get your database servers on 64bit while serving your 32bit MOSS 2007 farm.

Keep in mind: Architecture homogeneity:-
You can deploy an Office SharePoint Server 2007 farm on a mix of 32-bit and 64-bit servers provided that you maintain architecture homogeneity at each topology layer. For example, you can use 64-bit database servers with 32-bit front-end Web servers, or 64-bit application servers with 32-bit servers that are running Excel Services. However, we do not recommend combining 32-bit and 64-bit front-end Web servers within the same farm.

Mixing 32-bit and 64-bit servers

Some important considerations when you are running a mixed 32-bit and 64-bit farm are as follows:

Do not use the /3GB switch in Windows Server 2003

On a 32-bit server with a total of 4 GB of virtual address space, the /3GB switch can optimize performance by transferring 1 GB of virtual address space from the kernel to the user mode processes. This is not recommended on 64-bit hardware because it leaves only 1 GB available to the kernel. The large address tables that are used by 64-bit hardware can cause that address space to be depleted. As a result, the computer may become destabilized. For more information, see the Knowledge Base article The Windows Server 2003 /3GB switch is not supported in Windows SharePoint Services 2.0 or in later versions or in SharePoint Portal Server 2003 SP2 or in later versions (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=105919).

Maintain 32-bit or 64-bit homogeneity at each topology layer

You can deploy an Office SharePoint Server 2007 farm on a mix of 32-bit and 64-bit servers provided that you maintain architecture homogeneity at each topology layer. For example, you can use 64-bit database servers with 32-bit front-end Web servers, or 64-bit application servers with 32-bit servers that are running Excel Services. However, we do not recommend combining 32-bit and 64-bit front-end Web servers within the same farm.

Mixing 32-bit and 64-bit servers can increase the maintenance overhead for the farm

In mixed 32-bit and 64-bit scenarios, it is necessary to manage things such as third-party applications, custom solutions, software patches, and updates independently for each platform.

Source: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd630764(office.12).aspx


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